Have Your References Gone MIA?

The references you give in your application and resume may hold the balance when it comes to getting hired. All too often, especially if you haven’t needed to find a job in several years, you may find that your references have gone MIA.

Before you put contact information on your resume or on an application, it is vital to take a little time to get back in touch with your references.

First, start by calling your old workplace and ask to speak to the person you want to use as a reference. This will help you make sure that they still are at that company. If they are, ask them politely if they wouldn’t mind serving as a reference for you. If they seem hesitant, don’t push the point. If they no longer work there, see if you can find out where they are now and repeat the process of asking them to give you a reference.

Next, make sure that the numbers you are giving are correct. Confirm your reference’s direct contact number and ask them what time of day is best to get a hold of them. This will save your potential employers the time of trying to track down your references during the day.

It’s always a good idea to keep a written copy of your reference list with you, or store it on your phone for quick reference. Double check everything before you head out to an interview. It’s very easy to transpose a number.

If you are having difficulty tracking down old references, you may need to rethink your position and use newer references, or find other key people in that organization that remember you and your work.

While it does take more time to do a little fact checking on your own references, it will help you make the best possible impression on an employer. There’s nothing worse than being embarrassed by having the wrong number, the wrong name, or a contact that is simply no longer there.