Vouch For Me? 3 Things Job Seekers Should Know About References

job references adviceBy Gerrit Hall

"Will you vouch for me?"

If you're a job seeker, you've probably asked that question at one point. After all, what is more valuable than someone agreeing that, yes, in fact, you are the best employee for the job?

Your landlord probably asked for a reference, the local coffee shop wants one too, and the large firm where you'd like to get your foot in the door wants three.

Considering that references are so valuable, I think it's time to share three important bits of info about them:

1. There's a vocabulary.

If you've ever had someone vouch for you, you probably called them your reference. After all, that's what the employer says and just about everyone else. However, this isn't exactly correct.

Strictly speaking, the person who vouches for you is the referee while you are the referent. The reference is the actual information given to an employer. Unless your referee is a real stickler for semantics, this probably won't come up. However, it's good information to have on hand.

2. They don't like surprises

How would you like it if someone were to call you and quiz you about someone you worked with some time ago? You probably wouldn't like it. The same goes for the people who vouch for you. Prevent any surprise-induced mishaps by following this two-step process:

  • Ask the person before you submit their information as a referee.
  • Hold onto their information until an employer asks for it, then give your referee a head's up that a call might be coming.

Add this to the long list of reasons why your resume should never include reference information. This makes it oh-so-easy for prospective employers to call up your referees whenever they see fit. Trust me, they will.

3. Help them help you.

As you progress in your career, you'll probably start serving as a referee for your colleagues. As much as you want to, there's only so much information that you'll be able to remember when that fated phone call comes in from Mr. Bob from XYZ Inc.

Instead of leaving your referees in a pinch to find good information to share about you, give them a cheat sheet. Your resume is excellent for this purpose. Your referee will be able to study up on your career goals, experience and skills without having to scour your LinkedIn page.

What do you think? What else should job seekers know about references? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Gerrit Hall is the CEO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyzes and grades resumes -- instantly. Hall has successfully combined his passion for computer science and the careers space by helping job seekers write the best resume possible. You can connect with Hall and RezScore on Facebook and Twitter.

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While useful, most of this information is common sense. A more useful article would address WHO should be used as referees. In this day and age, not everyone has a list of purely professional referees. What if you're fresh from high school or college with little work experience? When is using a professor appropriate, or when would a more personal acquaintance come into play - because most people don't realize there are times for strictly PERSONAL referees.

November 17 2011 at 12:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm Kay and I'm using some one else's computer so please pardon my goof's.
As for the references thing In post 911 culture there is ONLY guilt by asocciation. refeences is just another way to find out if you have been with in six degrees of traffic tickets crimminals or other persons not hireable by that companies profiles. It's just an automatic way to get your guilt on record. FOOLS!

November 16 2011 at 10:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dear Earth Mother,

Did you even read the article? How can you say everything written is a good tip to consider when dealing with references and yet also say the prospective employee should always add reference information on their resume. That is exactly what the first point in the article said you should never do.

November 16 2011 at 9:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ezmerasi's comment

I think Earth Mother was just trying to advertise herself/business. Think of it as an ad. At least it wasn't one of those "I've never done a penny auction before" or "My friend is single and found a rich..."

November 16 2011 at 10:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

In addition to all the items mentioned when asking for references, it is highly recommended that the job seeker provide all of their referencees with a copy of his/her resume. Janet Fagan - Certified Career & Job Search Coach - www.fagancoaching.com

November 16 2011 at 2:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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