SAGE ADVICE FOR RESUMES, INTERVIEWING, AND MORE!
- By bruce w clagg
“References Available Upon Request” – Really?
The phrase above has been appearing on many resumes for decades, but not quite as often today. Okay, you have some references and will provide them, but only if requested. I get that! Without that phrase, you WON’T provide references? LOL!
For years, and after authoring countless thousands of resumes, I have never included that phrase once! Why? Are you NOT going to provide references if requested? Of course you will if you still want to be considered for that new position! …a rather stupid statement, don’t you agree? It's probably traditional more than anything else, but fading fast.
I have found a more powerful way to utilize the intent of the title phrase. INCLUDE THEM! Yes, a separate and final page (not numbered) entitled “Reference Portfolio.” In other words, Page One is not noted as “Page 1,” or “Page 1 of 2,” but Page 2 IS noted as “Page 2 of 2,” or “Page 2 of 3.” No page number on the “Reference Portfolio!” Use the same Style and Font Size as primarily used within your resume. Six to eight is a very sufficient amount (when a typical 'Application for Employment' only asks for four).
I suggest using two, different subtitles beneath the heading. First is “Professional References.” These are former bosses, former employees, former peers, former customers, strong business acquaintances. Be sure to contact each to be sure they are fine with being noted as a professional reference. If you are employed, be sure to ask for their confidentiality as you don’t want your boss to find out that you have a career search campaign underway! It's a small world, no matter your industry. I have 16 on mine!
Secondly, “Personal References.” No more than four. Few, if any, companies call personal references because they believe they are close friends and relatives who will expound upon your virtues and the caller can’t ask ‘business’ questions since they probably are unaware of your business skills, achievements, and expertise. Again, be sure to gain their permission to be used as a reference! I have four on mine!
Job Title (Retired, if appropriate)
Put each group into two columns so that it appears nicely and neatly and all fits comfortably on a single page.
Okay, the resume is complete AND you have references included. Few, if any, competitors will do that.
Now, for the Cover Letter (email body). Beneath your 'signature,' use the following (yes, Bolded!):
John H. Smith
P.S.: I have included my ‘Reference Portfolio’ to assure you that the information and achievements contained on my résumé are truthful and accurate.
Why, you might ask? People lie. Trustworthiness is a target for virtually everyone that conducts an interview. I read that upwards of 75% of EXECUTIVES lie on their resume! By stating the above, you are broadcasting your honesty! Whether they want references at the moment matters not. You volunteered the information and (with the P.S. above) the reason why!
Lastly, references, if verified at all, will be contacted during the interview process. Often, it’s after, what you consider, the final interview. Contact all of your noted references quickly and advise them that they may receive a call from XYZ Company regarding an Operations Manager (or whatever) position so they won’t be shocked, or surprised by the telephone call. Also have them call, text, or email you when they received the call with the name and job title (if possible) of the person that called. It will probably be someone in HR, but my references were only contacted once (because of the vast number of them supplied?) and two people made the calls – the Senior V.P. of Sales & Marketing AND the President. I found out the reason after I was hired.
Only companies that have you on their ‘short list’ and are very interested in you will bother contacting references. I would think that you would like to know when a company is making these inquiries!? Great news!!
You will need those references and their permission at some point anyhow – most likely to complete the Application. Turn it into a marketing tool – marketing your honesty and willingness to be forthright! Good luck!
Hello! I'm Bruce Clagg,
Advanced Career Solutions
Advanced Career Solutions (ACS) is a professional resume writing services firm also providing unique, job interview training, LinkedIn Profile rebuilding, career counseling & coaching from the ONLY multi-certified professional* in Texas. - Bruce Clagg, Rapid Employment & Career Management Coach
*The four Certifications are noted within.