When writing your professional CV you will of course need to add a few references. Whether you use a CV template and add the referee names before a job interview or submit them after, it’s important that you secure a referee before you start your job hunt.
As well as looking good on your CV, a referee can also contribute in your job hunt by offering a letter of recommendation. So they are very powerful tools.
It’s crucial for your references to be updated regularly. If you have a CV that is several years old and are not in touch with your references listed then it can be very difficult to receive a reference quickly (for help on building a successful CV see our CV tips). Having out of date references can severely delay a job offer and, in some cases, will make the employer question your credibility.
Therefore it’s crucial you not only have at least two strong referees to contact but you keep their contact details updated and that you stay in contact with them regularly. If you are in a position where your situation means that it’s very difficult to obtain references or you have no referees check out our advice article on what to do if you have no references for your CV.
Keep Up To Date
If you expect a reference to send a glowing recommendation letter to a prospective employer it is crucial you keep them updated with your job search every now and then. If they are randomly contacted by an employer without their knowledge, you could damage your existing relationship and appear unprofessional to your prospective employer. It’s essential you ask them if they are happy to be a reference and let them know when their details have been submitted.
Keep Them Happy
Your reference may be a previous employer who really likes you. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t have to work too hard to ensure they are still happy to provide a reference for you. But if they were a little less friendly or you worked for a very large organisation it is worth keeping in contact with your referee from time to time. This will ensure they don’t forget you! Obviously thanking them for their cooperation is crucial but it could also be worth asking them to attend a business lunch. Meeting them socially may make your reference stronger and they may know of some job opportunities available that will suit you.
Write It Down
Many employers like to speak to references via the telephone. But there are some that accept written references. It is worth getting your referee, if they have time, to write down and date a letter of recommendation that you can keep in your portfolio. This will ensure you have a quick reference for those employers that will accept it. Be sure to have them jot down your role, what you did within the company, your achievements and how your overall work ethic was.