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Selasa, 07 September 2010

References Rules That Shouldn't Be Broken

by Robert McCauley, Robert Half International

"References available upon request" seems to pop up on many resumes. But is the line really necessary?

No. Hiring managers assume you are able to provide this information when asked. Plus, by omitting the line from your document, you can save valuable space.

The following excerpts, all from real application materials, illustrate some other common mistakes people make when giving their references. Also provided are tips for avoiding these errors.

Choosing the wrong people

"References: My best friend."

When considering your list of references, select people you've worked with who can speak to your qualifications and professional attributes. Rest assured, glowing recommendations from a sibling or old college roommate will hold little weight with prospective employers. Coworkers and former managers are best.

Leaving out important details

"Bill, Tom, Eric. Phone numbers: I don't know."
"Contact John. He's the troubleman in the electric department."

List your references on a separate sheet of paper from your resume and cover letter, and bring the document with you to the employment interview. It should include each person's name, job title and contact information. Make sure the information is accurate and complete. After all, an acquaintance won't be able to help you land the position if hiring managers can't reach him or her.

Taking a negative tone

"You will not get a good reference on me from these folks, I am afraid."
"People who will talk about me behind my back."

Above all, you want prospective employers to speak with people who will paint you in a positive light -- so don't list those who aren't your biggest fans. Also make sure everyone on your list of references knows you well enough to provide in-depth information about your best qualities. It's a good idea to let references know the type of work you seek and send them a copy of your resume so they can better speak to your skills and experience.

Focusing on the funny bone

"'Believe it or not, he can really do it all.' -- Robert Ripley"
"'He's worth every penny.' -- Ebenezer Scrooge"

All of your job search materials should be written in a straightforward manner. Jokes do not always come across on paper, and there's no guarantee the person reading your application will share your sense of humor. Impress hiring managers with strong references, not funny quips.

Going on and on and on...

"References: Many managers."

Your roster of references should include three to five names. Most hiring managers will not require more; if a prospective employer wishes to speak to additional individuals, he or she will ask you for more people to contact.

Robert Half International Inc. is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 350 offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. For more information about our professional services, please visit For additional workplace articles and podcasts, visit

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