Don't Overlook the Importance of References


by Kristi Patrice Carter, J.D.

One of the most frequent questions that I get from clients is, does everyone have to include a reference page while sending out their resumes? The answer is "no" however it is definitely recommended that every one have a prepared reference letter to give potential employers after they have met with them. The reason why you don't want to include your references with every sent package is because you only want employers to call references after they have had a chance to meet with you and you have decided that you are interested in their position.

But, what is so important about a reference page? A reference page makes you look more professional, organized and serious about your job search. It ultimately helps you present yourself in the best possible light and demonstrates that you are a candidate that should be taken seriously. Not sure if I am telling the truth? Well, imagine this scenario.

After many months of searching, you finally find the perfect job. You intelligently hire a professional resume writer to assist you with the preparation of your resume/cover letter and they prepare documents that will effectively market your skills and help you get your foot in the door. You then proudly send out your package and you get an immediate response. Your dream employer wants to interview you IMMEDIATELY. You then brush up on your interviewing skills and then attend the interview. All goes well and you really believe you are well suited for the position. You successfully demonstrate your unique abilities and potential to handle the position with ease and impress the employer who then asks, "Do you have any references?" You say, "Of course but they are not in ummmmm printed form. However, if you give me a minute, I can write them down for you on a piece of paper or better yet, I can give you five business cards and write notes on them for your reference." Now imagine the look on their faces and your embarrassment.

Now, wouldn't it have been much, much, much easier to simply have a professionally drafted reference page in hand to give them, if asked? All you needed was a professionally prepared list of three to five business references of people willing to attest to your work habits and qualifications. You could have then included a coworker, supervisor, or even a professor for your business references and for your personal references you could have included a minister, neighbor, or close friend.

But, you might be wondering, "How do I compose this list?" Well, in order to compose your reference list, you should list the most important reference first and then include their name, title, all contact information (addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.), type of reference (personal or professional, and a brief summary of how long they have known you and in what capacity. By including all of this information, you will definitely make your reference list a powerful marketing tool and demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to success!

About the Author

Kirsti Patrice Carter is an experienced copywriter, a published author, and she owns three successful online writing businesses (kpcresumes.com, kpcmarketing, and kpcwriting.com). Her book, Fire Your Boss and Hire Yourself, is being featured on freelanceyourway.com.


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