Okay, so I’m a little early. Update Your References Week begins on Monday, but this weekend is a great time to get a head start. Most job seekers concentrate only on the resume and cover letter, and completely overlook the fact they will need to provide employment references during their search. Therefore, here’s a list of how to handle your references.

1. Don’t include “references available upon request” on your resume. The employer will ask, and you will need to provide. Put them on a separate page and bring it with you to your job interview. Wait until you are asked for them.

2. Keep your references diverse, from different jobs you held, and from different perspectives. A supervisor can’t follow you around on the job all day, so also include a reference from a client, a subordinate, and a co-worker. This gives a 360 view of how you work with everyone.

3. Always ask permission of someone before using them as a reference. No one likes surprises.

4. Catch up with your references once a year to let them know where you are at in your career, offer to serve as a reference for them, and update contact information.

5. Send a copy of your resume to all of your references so they are “on the same page” when a prospective employer calls to ask about your work ethic.

Staying in touch with professional references is crucial throughout your career. Don’t let this important task slip through the cracks.

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes