What is more powerful than you having a superstar Resume/CV/Bio?
What is more impressive than you winning a Tony Award for your interview performance?
Having other people say that you are AwEsOmE too!
Being able to provide both character and professional References to prospective new employers is a key part of successful job seeking, especially in an Employer Driven Market - An employer-driven market is when business owners predominantly 'call the shots' in the hiring process. This is when employers can dictate and negotiate salaries and benefits. This usually happens with the slowing down of economies, the rise of unemployment, and the increase in people looking for work.
Think about asking for References from:
Previous Managers - anyone who has hired or managed you in a professional capacity and can attest to your work ethic, punctuality, and dedication.
Co-workers – colleagues who you have worked closely with, supported and helped complete projects and tasks on time.
Anyone you have guided – this could be people you have managed or had oversight of their work – what do they think about your management style? Did they enjoy you managing them? Perhaps you managed a team of Summer Students, how did you affect their work experience?
Clients / Customers – if you work in a client facing industry then you may have close working relationships with business clients. Ask them to share their experience of working with you. Do they feel you always delivered on time and within budget? Do you have an honest approach to deadlines which they respect? Have they referred your services / work to other companies?
Vendors – perhaps you have relationships with outside vendors, maybe IT service providers, Event Managers, Security, Facilities etc. How do they value your work and relationship? Would they happily refer other vendors to do business with you?
Non-work-related – outside of work, what other relationships do you have which could be valuable to shine a light on with a prospective new employer? Are you a member of a Board? Do you volunteer your time for a local Charity? Do you help out a School? Are you actively involved in solving environmental issues across the island? Do you always pay your rent early so your landlord loves you? Who is happy to write you a personal reference attesting to your good nature and character?
Professors / Educators – did you excel at any recent classes/courses you completed? Did you always arrive early to attend, and ask thought provoking questions? Did you help others in your class? Were you a model pupil, and so say your Teachers too? Then maybe you can ask an Education related professional to write you a recommendation too.
Backdoor Referencing BE AWARE – This can happen in Bermuda, and it is where a candidate being considered for employment under goes Reference checks without their knowledge. A prospective employer may contact a firm or person listed on your Resume and ask them to verify your candidacy, even before you have made the shortlist for an interview!
References can be hand written/typed letters, dated, signed and on letter headed paper. They can also be emails sent to you. They can be endorsements online; check out the ‘Recommendations’ section on your LinkedIn profile/account – this is a very powerful place to showcase your References, and you’ll also be linked to your Referee’s profile so prospective Hiring Managers can find you that way…
Along with a concise Resume/CV/Bio and stellar interview prep - It is really important that you have other people that can verify your work performance and good character - especially if you have had a negative ending with a previous employer – if you have others that can ‘vouch’ for you, it can really help a new employer look past anything negative that may arise with ‘back door referencing’ or the ‘jungle drums’ across the island.
Remember: Good first impressions never have a second chance!