9 Tips for Choosing the Right Professional Referees
November 5, 2020
0

By Helen Green 

Referees are key to job search success. In a competitive job market adversely impacted by COVID-19, it pays to ensure the referees you’re putting forward are the most appropriate for the job you are applying for.

Be strategic when putting forward someone to speak about your work, achievements, skills, and cultural fit for the job you are in the running for. Here are just a few tips that may help. 

 1. Choose your referees carefully  

Referees need to know your character and your work contributions. How well do they know you? Your referees should be able to speak about your achievements, strengths, and areas in which you may need further developing — in the context of their work relationship with you. If they cannot speak about these adequately, the referee phone call may become uncomfortable for them, which ultimately reflects poorly on you as the candidate. 

When putting forward a former manager, you should be very confident they would respond positively to the question ‘would you rehire this person?’ If you have any concerns about this, think carefully about asking them to be a referee. 

2. Compiling your referee list 

Aim for at least three people who might be able to support your job application. This helps you match the referee to the job and avoids over-reliance on the same person, which can be challenging if you are on the shortlist for several positions. Some recruiters now want to speak to your referees before starting the recruiting process, which is a practice proving difficult for many candidates and their well-meaning referees. Referee fatigue is real. 

3. Other people you could consider as a referee 

The challenge is made more difficult for young people with limited work experience, those who have lost contact with their former referees or their referees are long retired, people who have been out of the workforce for an extended period, the self-employed, or those whose last job/relationship with their manager did not end well. Think broadly.  

Some of the following suggestions may work for you: 

  • Current supervisor (if appropriate)
  • Former supervisor with current employer or previous employer
  • Manager of an adjoining internal division who knows your work well
  • Long-standing former client(s) or external stakeholder you maintained a strong relationship with and provided a service relevant to the job you are applying for
  • Person you mentored or managed who really benefited from your leadership
  • Former colleague with whom you worked closely who has now been promoted internally or externally
  • Colleague in another section of your company who you helped/provided specialist advice to on several occasions, resulting in a specific outcome
  • Chair of a committee or internal working group you contributed to substantially
  • Representative of an organisation you volunteered with who knows you well
  • Chair of the school council when you were an active parent representative
  • Sporting coach, teacher, academic, trainer – particularly for young job candidates

4. Match the referee to the job 

This is important. Consider the key selection criteria for the job and the organisation’s profile. A recent client was shortlisted for a position as a senior client relationship manager. She included a supervisor and we discussed the possibility of adding a former long-term client she had collaborated closely with on a key project, to give his perspective as a client. He was delighted to help — this impressed the recruiter and she was successful. 

5. Is your most senior referee essential? 

Often, though not always. There is little point listing the company CEO, as opposed to your supervisor, unless they are briefed appropriately and it is clear they know you and your work. Putting forward both is ideal, as they can offer different perspectives. 

Context matters too. If you are a candidate for a senior leadership role, consider putting forward someone you have managed or professionally mentored as a referee, as evidence of your leadership style. 

6. Communication is key 

Maintain contact with your referees and brief them. Apart from reflecting poorly on you, you cannot expect your referee to do a good job selling you if they have not heard from you in years and have no idea what job you have applied for. Make sure to reconnect and aim to keep your referees as current and relevant as possible. 

Some suggestions: 

  • Provide your referee with an updated copy of your CV, highlighting anything important.
  • Brief them about the job you have been shortlisted for and why you have applied. Do not assume they will know why you are changing careers or jobs.
  • Remind them of your key contributions during the time you worked or volunteered together – especially as they relate to the job you are applying for.
  • Update them about anything significant that may have happened since you worked together; e.g. if you won an award, worked on a high-profile project, were absent from the workforce for several years.

7. Avoid listing referees on your CV 

It is widely understood that candidates will need to put forward referees, so it’s unnecessary to include them. It can also be counterproductive, as a recruiter may call your referees at any time during the recruitment process before you can brief them about the job. Better that you control the selection of your referees and put forward their contact details when requested. Of course, if you have a very high-profile and relevant referee you would love to flag on your CV, perhaps include a brief testimonial from them on page one of your CV. 

8. Make sure contact details for your referees are up to date 

Providing the wrong contact details or outdated information about your referee’s current position is a red flag for hiring managers. Ask your referees how they would like to be contacted and the best time to contact them saves time for the recruiter and makes you look efficient. 

9. If you left your last job on difficult terms 

This can be tricky. If asked, be honest, positive and provide alternatives. Most people have experienced a situation where, for various reasons, a working relationship does not work. A client had worked for an organisation for several years, and for the previous 12 months experienced a difficult working relationship with his line supervisor, who was new to supervising. His position was made redundant. Short-listed for a role, he had been asked for the contact details of his most recent supervisor. We discussed how best to present an appropriate and honest explanation as to why his former supervisor and a senior manager from another division would be able to provide more substantive information relevant to the position he was in consideration for. He was successful. 

Finally 

Check your referees are happy to remain on your list — this is crucial. Most importantly, thank them for their time and belief in you. 

Helen is a qualified careers practitioner and director of Career Confident in Melbourne. Previously, Helen worked in senior education and career program management roles, primarily at the University of Melbourne.

YOU can read the original version of this article here.

6 Ways to Get Your Job Search Back on Track

An article by Elaine Mead and published by the Australian Careers Service.

After a few months stuck at home, half the world is either just beginning to return to normal (and the office) or they’ve been left wondering what comes next after experiencing job losses. 

Losing a job or part of your professional identity can be a shock to the system. Know you are not alone in this experience. When you’re ready to take the next step forward, there’s plenty of ways to do so. 

It’s going to take a while for recruitment to pick up again and we’re certainly going to face a few more challenges as we deal with the impact of COVID-19. Making a plan for finding work might seem like a mammoth task. 

The small things can quickly become the building blocks of bigger changes and help you feel empowered rather than trapped during this time. Aside from updating your resume and cover letter, here are six to get you started: 

1. Update your LinkedIn profile 

If it’s been a while since you looked at your LinkedIn profile, now is the perfect time for some updates. You can set your profile to ‘actively seeking opportunities’ to indicate to potential employers and recruiters you’re looking for work and follow companies for job openings as soon as they happen. Spend some time making sure all your job titles are up to date, remove anything outdated and include links to projects or resources that align with your work or professional identity.  

2. Expand your knowledge 

Learning professional skills is a lifelong hobby and a great way to kick start your own development journey if it’s been a while since you studied. If you’re seeking ways to feel in-control and proactive about your career, an online course or workshop could be just the thing you need. Whether you want something to help you in your current industry or you’re seeking to strike out in a new direction entirely, there’s something for everyone. 

3. Check-in with your network 

Networking might seem like a foreign concept in our current climates, but it’s not completely off the table. Are you involved with any professional associations for your industry? Many are offering free professional development workshops, as well as regular Zoom meetings simply giving members a chance to chat and discuss how COVID has been impacting their industry and day-to-day jobs. It’s a great way to feel less alone but also connect with some new faces. 

4. Set up a professional website 

If unemployment is on the books, setting up a digital space that contains your resume, write-ups of any projects and programs you’ve helped on, as well as a weekly blog on your own thoughts about your industry could be what sets you apart when job hunting. Consider this a portfolio where you get to showcase your in-depth knowledge and understanding of your work and include the link to your site on your resume. It’s a great way to invite employers to get to know you better. 

5. Create some ‘how-to’ guides 

Lots of people every day are looking for ways to simplify their workday or understand how to do something quickly and easily. If you’ve got some niche knowledge, creating a how-to guide is a great way to boost your professional identity. Identify common question-points in your day-to-day job or industry and do a write-up — you might even visit a few of your own gaps and write about those! Share online (either LinkedIn or your website) and invite others to share their input. 

6. Start a business book club 

There are books for every single industry imaginable, or you could pick a broader topic such as leadership, workplace culture, or emotional intelligence in the office. You can read alone or rope in a few other colleagues or industry peers to read along with you. It’s a different way of adding to your personal knowledge and growing as a professional. 

Elaine Mead  is a Careers and Work-Integrated Learning Educator based in Tasmania. 

Job Search Tips for Workers with Difficult Bosses
March 3, 2020
0

Micromanagement, lack of privacy and unsupportive bosses can make searching for a new job difficult.

Try taking advantage of lunch breaks and stockpiled vacation days for scheduling interviews, and don’t be afraid to leave your boss out of the loop, writes Caroline Ceniza-Levine. 

Access the Full Story Via the Following Link: Forbes

How to Be Productive When You’re Unemployed
August 28, 2019
0

Hints & Tips for Your Clients

Do you know what to do when unemployed? Whether you were fired or whether you were laid off due to cutbacks, no doubt you’re reeling internally and trying to find a new direction in a world suddenly gone topsy-turvy.

Once the initial shock wears off and ennui sets in, you’ll need to know what things to do when unemployed and bored in order to keep your productivity high.

Obviously, you know you need to find new work, and here’s how to be productive when you’re unemployed so you can find a new job quickly.

How Do You Stay Busy When Unemployed?

It’s tempting to hide under the covers, binge-watch “Game of Thrones” and ignore your plight. But doing so hardly helps you find new employment. Give yourself two or three days to recover from the shock, then get to work.

Depending on where you live and your personal financial situation, you may have a powerful extrinsic motivation to find new work quickly.

Try to take some time, even if only a morning or afternoon, to reflect on what kind of work you truly desire. If you were feeling burnout at your previous job due to finding your work meaningless, a job loss is a perfect time to switch careers.

Think about what you used to play as when you were a child. Maybe you’ve dreamed of becoming a teacher. If you lack a certificate but have a bachelor’s degree, consider applying for an online or in-person tutoring position. Always fantasized about working with animals? Now is the time to explore a potential career as a veterinary assistant.

Soul-searching definitely makes the list of things to do when unemployed and bored. But how to be productive and work toward getting that new dream job?

How Do You Be Productive When You Don’t Have a Job?

Nearly every job seeker with a computer knows how to upload a CV to a job site and begin sending applications. But in answer to the question, “What to do when unemployed,” more productive means of finding new work exist.

Take every opportunity to attend networking events in the field you wish to apply. Also, call up your friends and let them know you’re looking for work. While you may feel embarrassed to admit you’re unemployed, this is the best way to find out about insider opportunities friends may know about in their fields.

Looking for work is a full-time job, so make yourself a schedule each Sunday for the week ahead. Tackle high-priority activities such as filling out applications for the jobs which interest you most first on your schedule each day. Reserve afternoons or your least productive hours for sending thank you notes, making phone calls and researching new opportunities.

Prepare and rehearse an elevator pitch so you have an instant speech for yourself ready if you come across a prospective employer unexpectedly.

Prepare a job interview ready bag full of CVs, business cards, hand sanitizer and breath mints to avoid arriving unprepared. You’ll have materials ready to go if you meet someone who is looking for staff by chance!

Above all, avoid falling into despair and unhealthy habits. Keep up your exercise routine and continue meal planning even if you need to adjust the menu slightly to account for the loss in income. Take a pass on using alcohol, nicotine or other drugs to dull the pain of losing your job — impairment makes it tougher to find a new post.

Being Unemployed Doesn’t Mean Being Unproductive

Job loss can cause significant distress, but try to look at this as an opportunity to seek something more in line with your passions.

By remaining productive while you’re unemployed, you improve your chances of finding work more quickly.