The Importance of Providing References

I’m not going to lie…

Everyone has that one thing in their job that they aren’t super thrilled to do, and checking references is not my favorite thing, buuuuuuut, it’s my job and I have to be really thorough with it.

Usually, I’m cold calling restaurants, hotels, and every type of business in between, trying to track down the right person. Sometimes I’m calling random people who have no idea why a strange number is calling, and they have no intention of returning my messages. Or my personal favorite (sarcasm), getting transferred to an HR office who can only confirm dates of employment for a candidate and nothing else! However, there is an easy solution to my personal angst when it comes to these reference checks and I’m going to share some tips with all of you job seekers out there. Not only in hopes of making my life easier but making your chances of getting hired, better! Seriously - having at least three GOOD references will increase your chances of getting hired tenfold.


NUMBER 1. actually Provide references (please).

If you are going to be submitting your resume for job opportunities, you need to have at least 3 professional references at the bottom of said resume. If you don’t feel comfortable putting the phone numbers out to possible employers before an interview, you need to have an actual list created, saved on your computer and ready to go whenever they are requested. If you put the reference(s) name, job title, where you worked together or what type of professional relationship you had, and their contact details - we (and your new prospective employer) will ❤ YOU! Kinda like this;

Orianna Downs
Operations Manager @ Maine Cater
My direct-manager for two years
(207) 505-5991


Number 2. choose the right peeps.

When an employer asks for references, they are asking for professional references. Not your mom’s second cousin who you helped build a bed frame that one time. Like actual managers and restaurant owners that can comment on your work ethic and skill. Try to use people from places that are listed on your resume and that you had a good working relationship with. Getting a reference from an owner, director, manager, or supervisor goes a lot further (and looks much better) than getting one from your buddy who used to only buss tables every other Tuesday. The right people are super important here.

A little secret - recruiters or employers will likely contact places on your resume in addition to those listed references anyway, so if you were a server somewhere, please don’t put that you were the “GM” because you will get caught out, and that’s embarrassing.


Number 3. ask permission!

If you’re actively searching for a job or maybe just had something spark your interest out of the blue you need to think about getting your reference list ready. The first step in creating the list is getting accurate phone numbers. The second step is asking permission from your references to provide their information. Call them, text them, email them (or communicate telepathically?) to let them know that you wish to use them as a reference. Once you have permission, tell them where you’re applying and that they should be expecting a phone call within the next few days.


Moral of the Story.

Don’t leave it up to the recruiter, hiring manager, or owner of the business to track down a reference for you. It doesn’t look very good that you are leaving the work up to them when you should be the one tracking down the right people and contact information. This will ensure that you will pass the reference checking stage, which is often one of the MOST important stages to pass! Follow these tips and you will become the new BFF of whoever has the job of contacting references for you. Be a candidate of preference, provide references 😉