Pop quiz. What do you do if your significant other is planning on taking a cab home from the airport? The correct answer is obvious to anyone who doesn’t like being single: you meet them at baggage claim to pick them up.The baggage claim only because the gate is off limits to anyone who doesn’t have a ticket. It’s these little unwritten understandings that some people must learn the hard way. Others learn it for free. Be one of those people that learn for free and read this article to gain the competitive edge over other candidates. *Author’s note: this is not an article about relationship tips. Sorry if that introduction mislead you.
If you’re smart and prepared, you’ll have a list of references available complete with full names, at least two ways to contact that person and other important information about that reference. However, the big part of this understanding is that you have them ready to go. Otherwise, you’re already behind. Why, you ask? In order to get past the initial interview, the employer is going to want to know about your references and your relationships with them. Having them ready to go saves time and it shows that you’re serious about getting the job right now.
Here’s another free hint, although this one should already be understood. When you present the interviewer a copy of your resume and references, they should be neat and clean, not crumpled. They should be wrinkle free, like your clothes. Don’t make the employer mistake your resume and reference list for a pile of garbage.
On my resume, I have a line on the bottom that reads, “References available upon request.” Some say you shouldn’t have that on a resume, as it is already assumed by employers that you have them, but others have said it doesn’t hurt to reiterate the fact that you do have them. So in this case, it’s really just a personal choice. Regardless, you need to have them ready and you need to have them on you at the interview. Logically, if it is understood that employers expect you to have them at the ready “whenever,” it should be safe to assume that “whenever” could mean, “right now.” Don’t be stuck there with an empty look on your face, or an empty hand, when the interviewer asks for your references and you don’t have them. That’s not how you get ahead of the competition.
Questions? Ideas or suggestions? Follow me on twitter @ChrisComella or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org