You’re getting interviews with the employers you’re targeting, and job search references are requested.

Congratulations! You’ve worked your way in, and they’re interested.

They wouldn’t ask for references if they weren’t strongly considering making you an offer.

Checking references takes time for employers, and costs them money. Only the best candidates will be worth it. They must be pretty serious about you.

How To Select, Qualify and Prepare Your Job Search References

Are you ready to send those employers a list of several people to verify your strengths, character, qualifications and good-fit for their needs?

Weak, or in any way negative, references can kill your chances of being made an offer. They can turn around that employer’s previous glowing impression of you.

Hopefully, you haven’t waited until now to compile your list of references. You’ll need time to pull together a potent group of people who are best qualified to reinforce your personal brand and confirm the value you offer.

Identify good possible candidates for your reference list.

Build and qualify your reference list.

Choose the right people as references . . . probably NOT friends.

Think twice before including friends on your list. Your references should have some professional connection to you, and be able to provide meaningful information about your work performance. A weak reference can turn the tables against you.

In an article on, former executive recruiter Jeff Lipschultz said it’s important to choose the right references for the right situation:

“You might want different references depending on the job you have applied for.

Different references may have different levels of credibility and authority in different industries, professions, or, even, in different locations, so carefully selecting the references for a specific employer or situation may increase the probability of landing that job.”

He suggests rotating references if you’re asked for your list often, to avoid overburdening them with too many calls.

Jeff also makes an important point about LinkedIn recommendations:

“For references or endorsements on LinkedIn, keep in mind that those people may be asked questions about you without notifying you first or asking your permission. Make sure to remind the references when you’re on a job hunt in case they are contacted (those giving endorsements might be too much to manage).”

Tips to create a list of references that will help land you a coveted executive job.

After qualifying people and tightening your list, you should be ready to create a “List of References” career document.

Include in your list each person’s name, title, company, location, email address and phone number, and a brief explanation of your professional relationship to them.

Taking it a little further, you can expand your list of references and make it a “Reference Dossier and Accolades” document. Along with the above noted information, include a brief, impactful quote from each person, supporting your brand and value proposition.

As you move through job search, contact each of your references in advance. Let them know, when you know they’re about to get a call from an employer, so they’ll have time to prepare and review your materials.

Reaching out to your list of references not only helps them know how to position you as a good-fit candidate for the jobs you’re seeking.

The contact also helps you stay top-of-mind with them. And it gives you the opportunity to remind them that you’re still job-hunting, and possibly gain a lead or two from them. That’s just good networking!

Don’t forget to send a thank you note (a handwritten, snail-mailed note is best) to every one of the people you’ve contacted to be on your list.

Update them on your job search progress along the way, and let them know how much their input and involvement have helped. Get in touch again to thank them each time you know they’ve been contacted.

More About Executive Job Search

This content was originally published here.

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