On the Care and Feeding of Reference – 5 Keys

Using a career agent to represent you in the marketplace means that, unlike the anonymous pile of electronically scanned resumes, YOU get noticed. Not by HR mind you, they don’t hire anyone anyway, but by the Director, Regional VP, or other hiring authority. And nothing enhances the ability of your agent to distinguish you in the marketplace faster that the “sound bites” provided by good references. It simply can’t hurt to punctuate your credentials with words such as “her clinical knowledge is encyclopedic” or “he’s the most patient-centered pharmacist I’ve ever seen.”

Yet far too little attention is given to the care and feeding of potential references. Here are a few keys:

  1. Nurture Them – by eagerly providing good references to others. This engenders their willingness to allow you to keep tabs on them for references for your future career change.
  2. Manage Them – Contact them when they might receive a call from a company . Give them a copy of your resume so they can act like they know you. Supply a model or template for them to use so they have an idea what a good reference looks like.
  3. Get Them – You may want to gather references as you are leaving or about to leave and while they still remember who you are!
  4. Use Them – to leverage an offer first – “once we’ve made good progress and there is a good chance that an offer is forthcoming.”
  5. Provide Them with an Outline of what you want them to comment about, e.g. Leadership Ability, Job Function (technical capabilities), and Future Potential.

Most everyone who applies for a job has the necessary qualifications, just as every storefront has a window. References are the neon signs that say “Guinness” served here.