Well, do you? We all like to think we have people who would go to bat for us and lavish potential employers with recommendations and accolades of our work. But, when push comes to shove, do you have a reliable list of credible references?

If you don’t, how do you select them, update them and present them to a potential employer? Here’s what I would do if I was trying to prepare my list of references:

  1. Talk to people. Figure out who would be in your corner when looking for a new job opportunity. Don’t limit yourself to former supervisors or managers. Select people who know your work and accomplishments.
  2. Ask permission. Check with the reference “targets” if they would be willing to act as a reference in your job search. Let them know that you will keep them in the loop if and you will let them know when employers may be calling or reaching out to them for information. You don’t want your references to be caught off guard!
  3. Stay updated. Make sure you have the correct contact information for your references. Ask them what number or email they would prefer you share with employers. Make it as easy as possible for potential employers to connect with your reference and make it easy for your reference to handle those communications.
  4. Prepare the document. Create your list and have it ready to give to potential employers. However, don’t include it with your resume or even write “References available upon request” on your resume. Wait for the hiring manager to ask you for those important contacts.
  5. Keep in touch. Once your list is complete, figure out how you will keep your references updated. Always let them know when someone may be contacting them. Also, try to follow-up with your reference after they have talked to the employer. Ask them how things went and be sure to thank them for acting as a reference. And don’t forget to let your reference know the outcome:  good or bad. Even if you don’t get the job, you want to make sure they will still be around for the next opportunity.

References still matter in the hiring process. Make sure you have the right people lined up to provide as a reference when asked. One more thing to consider: Employers are also typically checking sites like LinkedIn for reference/recommendation information. Ask people to recommend and/or endorse you on LinkedIn.


Jill Kempka

About Jill Kempka

Jill loves to share information about ways to keep up with the changing world of work. She focuses on quick tips, facts and helpful lists to give job seekers tactics and advice they can immediately use.