Overcoming Job References

The current best thinking is to always provide references when applying for a new job.

The phrase “references available upon request” should be retired.

There is a better way.

At the end of your resume, include only the best references you have.  List their name, title, contact information AND …

A line quoted exactly as they summed your skills up.  In other words, ask them for it in a letter and include the quote after their name.  Most employers will not want to make more work and call all your references if they think the quotes are authentic.

And never fear a bad reference.

That’s right.  You may want to reread that line again.

Some people get pleasure or feel justified in hurting others from moving on from a bad situation for both of them.

I once applied for an on-air job at a big number one radio station in Philadelphia.  I had great references except for one difficult to work for employer but I had to list my employment at his station.

My prospective employer in fact called that mean person and sure enough got a not so nice reference.

Later when my prospective employer called me back for a second interview and an audition, he asked me point blank – I called this so and so and he didn’t have very nice things to say about you.

I was stunned.

But I said, “I am sorry about that, but I worked hard for him and I am grateful for the other mentors I’ve had”.

After what seemed like a verrrry long pause, he leaned over and said, “He’s an idiot anyway.  Never has a nice thing to say about anyone.  You’re hired”.

My willingness to be humble, authentic and honest overcame a glitch that could have ruined a breakthough career opportunity.

You’re never out if you’re never down.