Resume 101: Enhancing the reference checking processWritten by Annemarie Cross, CPRW, CRW, CEIP, CCM, CECC, CWPP
The employment meeting went extremely well. The interviewer was impressed with your abilities; you answered questions superbly; and you were able to develop an excellent rapport with interviewer and other staff at company.
So, now just reference checking process, BUT, unfortunately you did not make it to following stage. Why not? Everything went so well. What possibly could have gone wrong?
How often do I hear similar comments from candidates who are at an absolute loss as to why after such great interviews, their applications have been denied.
Have you ever thought that perhaps your reference may be letting you down?
The general procedure a candidate follows in locating and providing references to support their application is either to:
~ provide a list of contactable references on their resumes at time they send their initial application, or:
~ provide contact names after being requested to do so at interview without any prior consideration.
Are these two methods basically what you are currently doing in your career campaign? If so, you need to be aware that both of these methods can be detrimental to your job search.
Unless application has specifically requested reference details to be included in your initial application do not forward or include details on your resume. As you may be forwarding your resume in response to hundreds of job advertisements this could result in your references receiving numerous calls, which could become quite annoying and ultimately, damaging to your campaign. You want to retain control over who you provide these details to, and presenting a reference list after you have had an opportunity to interview with potential employer will be far more beneficial. During interview you may realize that this is not position you originally thought it was, or realize that your personal values and beliefs would be challenged if you were to become employed with organization, and therefore there is no real need to provide reference contact details. Your references will not be unnecessarily contacted, affording their valuable time and energy for a position that you are not interested in.
Let’s see how we can enhance entire process of qualifying and contacting appropriate references in order to maximize reference checking process.
Once you locate a position you would like to apply for, you need to decide who would be best person to offer as a reference. A human resource staff member who has not worked with you may only be able to confirm dates you worked with them, but not provide details about your performance. A department head may not be able to offer much more information either, however a direct supervisor or colleague who you worked with can present details on your performance, contributions and overall standing in workplace.
Sadly, we can lose contact with previous employers, supervisors or colleagues, however if you are still in contact with them, or would be able to contact them, then this would be to your advantage. It is far more beneficial to use someone who is able to confirm your abilities within a work context rather than, say, a close friend, relative or neighbor, however for some job seekers this is almost impossible. If either of above situations ring true for you, there are a number of strategies you can consider: ~ Consider providing name of your lecturer or tutor if you have recently completed professional development or courses. The course studied would presumably be relevant to position you are targeting, so your tutor could confirm your academic achievements and knowledge in this area. ~ Voluntary work for a local community organization may allow you to provide name of President or other member of board or committee. ~ A professional or other high-standing member of community who has known you for many years and can verify your honesty and integrity. These people may include a minister, a doctor or lawyer. ~ Consider putting forward name of a colleague with whom you have worked if you are unable to locate a previous manager. A colleague would certainly be able to confirm your overall professionalism and experience within workplace. Perhaps you may be able to provide name of your direct supervisor, or even a supervisor from another department who has had some dealings with you on a professional level. ~ A major supplier with whom you have previously dealt could vouch for your professionalism and integrity. ~ A subordinate or a member of a team that you were responsible for could also be considered and could vouch for your leadership and management style. ~ Contact a number of your customers/clients to see if they would be willing to act as a reference. Who better than a previous or existing customer to vouch for your commitment and high standard of work ethic? Once you have decided on best person to offer as a reference, you need to:
Resume 101 - Enhancing your marketability despite those employment gaps Written by Annemarie Cross, CPRW, CRW, CEIP, CCM, CECC, CWPP
Involuntary career breaks, or dare we say it, ‘unemployment’, can often be a frightening situation for anyone to be in. After initial shock of unexpectedly finding yourself without a job, it doesn’t take long before disillusionment sets in, particularly when days turn into weeks, then weeks into months or even longer, and you begin to panic: how you are going to handle ever-increasing employment gap on your resume?
The belief that longer you are out of work, more difficult it will be to regain employment is understandable. However, it is important to stress that many people at one time or another have found themselves jobless whether through their own doing (such as taking a career break to raise children or scheduling a well-deserved holiday), or in situations that have been beyond their control such as with layoffs, redundancies or company closures.
So if you currently find yourself unemployed, don’t be discouraged as many have experienced job losses and have eventually re-established successful careers. Rather than letting fate take its course, they have implemented various strategies that increased their marketability to a potential employer, and believe it or not you too can follow these tactics and hopefully shorten gap that lays between where you are now and light at end of what –seems like a never-ending tunnel.
Following these initiatives should assist you in transforming a potential employment gap into a learning experience, and provide you with marketable solutions for use in your resume.
~ Demonstrate your commitment to remaining current with industry trends through reading publications, periodicals or trade journals, or even researching internet.
~ Join a professional association within your field and get involved. Not only is this another way of keeping current with industry trends, but also a fantastic opportunity to grow your network; meet and develop relationships with potential employers; and even generate/source some great job leads from other members of group.
~ Take a class or a professional development course to enhance your knowledge. You may even find yourself developing new skills that can open doors to a new and more challenging career path.
~ Consider possibility of providing advice in your line of expertise through consulting or projects/assignment work performed as part of your own business. This will allow you to develop strategic relationships with other companies, which could possibly lead to full-time employment, and/or allow you to continue developing your network of contacts.
~ Provide your knowledge/services on a voluntary basis. Just because this is on a non-paid basis does not discredit any great results or contributions you may have made within an organization.