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It’s fall again! And whether you’re cleaning out your closet to make room for autumn apparel or your fantasy football lineup to make room for some winners (Da Bears, it’s the Chicagoan in me), it’s out with the old and in with the new. The true is same of your resume. So get out that red pen and laptop, it’s time to do some updating.

In an attempt to walk-the-walk, I thought about my own resume and the various sections I could update. Current address…Professional experience…Skills…Education History. The list seemed comprehensive and logical. BUT, I missed one key, albeit invisible, section. REFERENCES! Sure, references are not listed on resumes; however, if I did need to pull out my revamped resume for an opportunity, the very next thing a prospective employer will ask for is references. 

A recent blog, The Who’s and How’s of Personal References, explains the different types of references and how to identify the best individual to be a reference for you. First, the author explains that employment verifications and references are birds of a different feather. Employment verifications are simple confirmations of the dates and positions you listed on your resume; Past employers are not allowed to offer details of your performance during this conversation. Personal references are the opportunities for the perspective employer to hear about you, the man or woman behind the resume. That’s why choosing and maintaining relationships with your references is fundamental to your success. A few key points from the article include:

  • Choose wisely. Which people have seen your superior skill set in action? Which of those people would do the best job conveying your talent?
  • Be prepared. Create your reference list in advance and only provide it to those companies who request it. List your references’ name, job title and company, phone number, and e-mail address. Minimum of three and no more than 10.
  • Prepare your reference. Before you use someone as a reference, ask them. Being caught off-guard will only hinder their ability to convey how great you are. Also, after your reference has agreed, send them your updated resume and a brief job description, so they can target the skills you have that are most relevant for the company.

To read the full article The Who's and How's of Personal References click here.

Have more resume questions? Check out Cancer and Career’s Career Coaching, where you can get online, personalized help from an expert career coach. Or register for our Ask The Experts teleconference this October to speak live with career coach, Julie Jansen, for free.

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