Pick the right references and prepare contact persons

In addition to your cover letter and CV, the specified references and reference persons are an important part of the application process. The selection and preparation of reference persons increases your chances for the job. Decision makers mostly use the references at the end of the process to verify your statements or the breadth of your abilities. Thus, it is essential that you specifically choose the right people, maintain your relationship with them and prepare them well. Inform the specified references about the job for which you have applied and discuss your expectations.

How to choose your references

Good and current references are important parts of a successful job search. Choose your references according to the following criteria:
  • You have worked together closely in the last five years.
  • The reference knows your strengths and will praise you in the highest terms.
  • The contact person is competent and able to describe your abilities and experience in detail.
Such contact persons can be former supervisors, external customers or even colleagues. Check the contact information for correctness and inform your references about the significance of your applications. Indicate their name, employer, job and connection to you. Your list of references should be at the end of your CV. You should provide 2-3 references so that the HR manager can choose which reference to contact and form an objective opinion. The relation to the company and the job also plays a role.

Thoroughly prepare the chosen contact persons

In order for your references to be able to do their best for you, you need to provide them with relevant information in a timely manner and prepare them for a possible call. Discuss it with them and let your chosen references know for which jobs in which companies you have applied and who might contact them. Discuss what you want them to say and how you would like to sell yourself to the respective company. What strengths in particular should be emphasised in your opinion, what statements will distinguish you from the masses?

Stay in contact

Often, good recommendations come from those higher up in the hierarchy, and such individuals generally have a lot to do. Thus, stay in regular contact and maintain the relationship. Keep the contact persons up to date and keep them informed about how your job search is progressing. Show them you are thankful for their help and the time they have invested.
If you are applying for a management position, you can use one of your employees as a reference. Under certain conditions former employees can provide valuable information about your management style. Well-chosen and prepared references increase your chances of filling the vacant position. Use this chance when looking for a job. Naturally, exaggerations are not welcome. This is much more about a positive estimation of who you are.