Hidden Secrets of Reference Checking

Matt’s excited. He’s just applied for his dream job and he knows he’s got it in the bag. His internships, degree, and credentials make him the perfect candidate, so he’s not worried.

But maybe he should be...


Matt’s excited.

He’s just applied for his dream job and he knows he’s got it in the bag. His internships, degree, and credentials make him the perfect candidate, so he’s not worried.

But maybe he should be.

See, Matt got into some trouble at a past job. Abusing company time and destroying company property for a prank seemed like fun. Until he was fired for it. Ouch.

But that’s in the past. Matt didn’t include anyone from that internship in his references and the only proof is hidden in his Facebook videos. It will never touch this new job, right?

Twenty-five, fifteen, or even ten years ago, that may have been true. Now, however, employers can have access to references from all of your jobs and they can — and will — look at your social media accounts.

You can’t control it, but there are a few tips you can use protect your reputation and avoid poor references for future jobs. See the list below for these career-saving practices:

1. Choose the best references

When giving references, choose people who have worked with you professionally or seen you perform in a leadership position. Specifically, choose supervisors, professors, or coworkers who have worked with you in a position similar to the job you are applying for. They will be able to discuss character traits and skills that will be best for the new position and help you secure the job.

Also, be sure to carefully read through reference requirements. If the employer wants a reference from a past internship and you give your Taco Bell manager’s information, you will miss a prime career opportunity.

2. Develop a positive social media presence

If a potential employer visits your Twitter profile and sees several tweets bashing your former supervisor, they aren’t likely to form a high opinion of you. Instead, only post positive content. Carefully review your followers and friends, as well. If your future employer decides to contact one of your social media connections, make sure they can only access people you trust.

3. Always act professionally

Whether you have a positive or negative experience with a job, you always want to end on a positive note. Avoid burning relationships and take care to leave a positive reference in every position you hold. This will help you build a positive professional reputation and keep you from creating sticky situations. 

4. Prepare your references

Whenever you use someone as a reference, let them know beforehand. Tell them about the position, why you are applying, and give them a copy of your resume. This will give them the best tools for an honest, positive review.

Carefully creating a positive reputation takes work, but it will save you time and help you as a job seeker now and in the future.

5. Did we miss one? Maybe it should be part of our list here  too?

If you are looking for a job, be sure to check our website for upcoming church job fairs in your area.

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