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It’s standard practice nowadays for employers to check with references before deciding to hire a particular candidate. Now more than ever, it’s important to have credible references on your resume and to ensure they’ll give you a good review. Even going as far as staying in touch with your connections on LinkedIn will go a long way in making sure all your bases are covered when it comes to your references. Sometimes the best resumes that get you hired are the ones backed by the best references. Here are some quick ways to ensure your references are as helpful as possible.

Ask Your References Ahead of Time

Your reference may feel disrespected if they get a call from a potential employer on your behalf without you asking them first. This is especially true if you haven’t kept in touch with your reference for a while. If they are surprised to get a call about you, they probably won’t be as helpful since they weren’t prepared for the call. Just giving them a simple call ahead of time will go a long way in ensuring they help you out as much as possible.

Provide as Much Information About the Job as Possible

The best resume writing services will suggest giving your references details about the job you’re applying for. This will help them match the skills from your previous job to the one you want. Let them know the types of questions they’ll be asked so they’ll feel as prepared as possible. The last thing you want from your references is for them to be unprepared and not highlight your attributes as much as you’d like.

Choose Professional References Instead of Personal

The first thing a professional resume writing service will tell you is to use professional references instead of personal ones. If you lack work experience, you may have no choice but to use personal references, however. A potential employer assumes personal references will say as many good things about a candidate as they can since they are a family member or friend. Professional references will give more of an honest opinion and will be more likely to give them the information they want to hear about your skills and work ethic.

Thank Your Reference for Helping You

referencesOnce your professional reference agrees to help you out, be sure to thank them by sending a simple thank you note or taking them out to lunch to show your gratitude. After they answer questions from your potential employer, follow up with them to thank them again. You never know when you may need to use them as a reference again so show your appreciation as much as possible. Saying “thank you” is always a good thing.

(See More Rules for References here.)

By Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, BS/HR, a Certified Professional & Executive Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services, Inc. She has achieved international recognition following nominations and wins of the prestigious T.O.R.I. (Toast of the Resume Industry) Award. Find Erin at http://exclusive-executive-resumes.com.