Published on July 18th, 2012 | by Amy Edwards0
How to pick good referees for your CV
By Amy @BubbleJobs
So, you’ve got shed-loads of experience, a great track record and you’re starting to make a name for yourself in your chosen industry but you’re looking for a new challenge. That’s completely normal – no one wants to be stuck in the same place or same role for their entire career.
You’ve redrafted your CV, dusted off your best suit and starting scouring the net (including Bubble, of course!) for the latest vacancies in your niche. Hang on, (just like a famous pop star once said), it’s time to re-e-wind. Are you sure you’ve redrafted ALL of your CV?!
Job history? Check! Experience? Check! Key achievements? Check! Referees? Erm… pass! Yep, referees might not seem like a major part of your CV but they can make all the difference when it comes to bagging a new job, particularly if your prospective new employer is super-thorough when it comes to recruiting new members of staff!
OK, so when it comes to blagging a job offer, it’s up to you to do the hard work in your interview but when it comes to actually taking you on, your referees can play a key role. In theory, your potential new employer is well within their rights to contact any of the referees you’ve included on your CV to check your work history, character, experience and key skills – so you might want to think twice about being too elaborate with the truth!
While not all employers go through the process of contacting referees and collecting statements, a large majority still do so don’t make the mistake of thinking that it doesn’t matter which referees you include!
As your CV referees are essentially there to act as a ‘back-up’ when the time comes to track down a new job, it’s fair to say that you need to spend a good bit of time carefully considering who you’re going to choose – simply including the first person that springs to mind is NOT the way to go!
When it comes to referees, people normally choose either:
- A former employer or work colleague
- A former teacher or lecturer
- A PHD supervisor or examiner
While it can be tempting to choose a close friend or family member who you know will always give you a glowing reference, this really isn’t a good idea! The individual referees you include on your CV should know you well and be able to paint an accurate picture of your skills, experience and character to potential employers so try to choose people who have spent a fair bit of time with you.
How many referees do you need? Well, it’s standard practice to include two referees on your CV, however in some cases employers can request a third referee (if they’re trying to build up a complete picture of your overall experience and character) so try to ensure you always have a third person in mind if and when the time comes to “phone a friend”.
Think you’ve got just the people in mind? OK, now you need to contact them to make sure they’re happy to provide you with a reference and have their details listed on your CV. Now, while you don’t legally have to ask their permission, it is polite to ask and if you know them as well as you claim to, they really shouldn’t have too much of an issue with acting as your referee.
OK, so you’ve got your referees and you’re pretty confident they’ll give you a good reference but the work doesn’t end there! Even when you’ve managed to bag yourself a new job, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with your referees to ensure their contact details haven’t changed and they haven’t forgotten you! Of course, as you progress through your career, you’ll probably want to change your referees as you develop relationships with new employers and colleagues – that’s not a problem, just remember to keep their contact details updated on your CV – providing a prospective employer with the wrong contact details for your referees is not the way to make a great first impression!