It's like clockwork - each day I open countless resumes and so many of them at the bottom of the resume contain the words "References Available Upon Request."
Outside of the fact that it's already implied in your job search that a company can get references at their request, it's a waste of valuable real estate on your resume (unless you're writing a federal resume). Use that space to add additional accomplishments or just end the resume.
But that's not what today's post is about. What should you really be doing with your references?
The first thing you should do with your references, outside of taking them off your resume, is alerting them to the fact you're job searching when you begin your actual job search. This way you're not scrambling in the job offer stage to try and line some up.
But when you do give them that head's up that you're starting a job search, don't just ask them to be a reference. Take it one step further!
In most cases, your references are former managers or people that know your work and can speak to the quality of work that you've done throughout your career.
Which means they can be valuable door openers and partners for you as you embark on your next career step.
Have a strategic conversation with them. Get their feedback on you and your career. This will help you understand what they'll probably say to a potential hiring manager, but will also give you some things to think about in terms of your skills and talents.
At the end of the conversation after they've agreed to be a reference, ask them this simple question:
"Is there anyone you might recommend I reach out to?".
Now you're not just lining them up as a reference - you're networking. And you're opening their network up to you.
Whatever the response is, make sure to set clear next steps with them. If they suggest a potential contact, ask them for an email introduction to warm up the conversation. If they need some time to think about it, ask them when it would make sense for you to follow up with them.
It's 2023 so there will and should be an online element of your job search. But it can't be the only way you search for a job. Utilize your network and start with your references!
Not sure how to get the conversation started? Check out the Career Coaching page and let's schedule some time to talk.