Reference Check Etiquette

The time is right and you are ready for that next (or even first) job. Your CV is just about ready, you just need one more section to go….referees.

What is required or even expected?

While there is no absolute truth, below is a commonsense guide to help.

  • Do not list your referees on your CV. It is perfectly acceptable to indicate that “references will be provided upon request”, giving you control over who has your referee contact details and when.
  • Contact your referees in advance of using them. This confirms that they a) remember you, b) have not changed their contact details and most importantly c) that you can brief them on the particulars of the job.
  • Wherever possible, make sure your referees have worked with you relatively recently. OK, we know you don’t want us to ring your current boss, but a referee from 10 years ago may not be able to validate your career progress since then.
  • Don’t bother with a written reference unless that is all you are able to provide. I have never seen a bad written reference–have you?
  • If this is your first job, ask someone who knows you well (outside your family) if they can be a personal referee (as opposed to professional). This could be a course coordinator, sporting coach or youth association leader.

Now we have your references sorted, good luck with the interviews!

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