When it comes to providing professional references, the choices you make matter. A random list of people you worked with over the years just won’t do. You need to think about these references carefully and select the right people who can make the right impact and impression on your behalf.
There’s something you need to think about when selecting Professional references. I like to call this “Snapshots In Time”.
Anyone you select as a Professional reference may get contacted by a prospective employer and asked to provide information about you. Each reference that’s given the opportunity to discuss things about you has an indelible impression etched into their minds about you. They have a specific mental picture of what you’re all about. The thousand words worth of dialogue spoken by this person paints the picture from their perspective about you. The time since your last interaction with each professional reference impacts the accuracy of how you expect to be portrayed. Professional references provide a peek into what you’re all about within the period you worked together – a Snapshot In Time.
A Great Snapshot is Clear, Not Blurry
If you’ve ever seen a photo that’s out of focus, the details might be difficult to discern. I can’t tell what’s going on here. You couldn’t explain it if you tried. Likewise, if you haven’t provided your professional reference a clear picture of what you’d like them to say and focus on, the details about you will be one big blur when viewed by the prospective employer.
When’s the last time you actually spoke to your professional reference? Remember, they have a Snapshot In Time taken when you worked at a different company, doing different things, and maybe in a completely different role. Did that Snapshot In Time occur back require flash powder, flash cubes, or a mad dash to the big box store to get developed?
Pick up the phone and call them in order to reconnect and explain the picture you have in your mind of what needs to be said about you during a reference check.
Make sure your professional reference has a crystal clear image of what you’ve done, what impact it made, and how your experience and work ethic relate to the opportunity at hand!
A Great Snapshot Leaves No Doubt As To What The Main Subject Is
Ever see a photo with so much going on that you have a hard time figuring out what you’re supposed to be looking for? Anybody remember those “Where’s Waldo?” cartoons?
Your professional references need to be targeted so that they convey the right message for you. In other words, if you worked as a Manager and applied for a management position, your professional reference needs to be a person or people who can speak to your previous roles as a manager.
Your professional reference needs to be able to help the prospective employer instantly identify you in the role you wish to get hired for. They can easily connect your name to the question, “Where’s _________________ the Manager?”
A Great Snapshot Goes Viral
Each day, we see memes, videos, and photos that start trending on social media. The speed at which these things blaze through the worldwide web is incredible.
Just like that post you just forwarded or re-Tweeted, you want the feedback from your professional references to go viral! You want everyone within the hiring matrix to know the value you bring to the company.
When you witness something going viral, what do you do? You tell other people about it. You spread the word and spread the “webidemic” until everyone seems to know about it. Once your name is known within a prospective employer’s circle of influence, your chances increase exponentially and fast. You’ve got that extra boost that moves you closer to getting hired.
Professional references can be a valuable asset to your hiring process. But, like any great picture, you need to focus on the details that create a memory.
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