Recently, the CEO of Samsonite was publicly outed for lying on his resume about a college degree. Shortly after, he resigned for personal reasons. Regardless of why he left, we know the company couldn’t keep him on and save face. What’s more, he’ll have a hard time landing a similar position going forward.

While you may not outright lie on your own resume, unintentional discrepancies can occur, particularly with regards to your listed references. Beyond experience, a good reference can mean the difference between a second interview and a no thank you. On the other hand, a poor one can derail your job search in a hurry.

Here are 4 ways to ensure your references will set you up for success:

    1. Make sure your information matches HR records. It’s possible that your former or current employer will have different employment dates, position titles, or supervisor information in their records than what you provide. This can happen by accident or if your company has been through a merger or acquisition since you held the position. To make sure you’re aligned, be sure to verify all data points before starting a new job search.
    2. Give them a heads up: It’s always a good idea to reach out to your references when someone may be calling on them. This way you can ensure they’re willing to assist, as well as give you an opportunity to share more about the prospective position with them. This knowledge can lead to a more successful interaction with a potential employer. Also, it’s important to thank your reference for their time and cooperation.
    3. Be sure they’re easy to reach: If it’s been awhile since you communicated with your references, make plans to do so. It’s possible they moved on to another position or perhaps another company entirely, or their contact information may have changed. Make any updates now to avoid an issue later.
    4. Confirm they’re a good fit: The right reference isn’t just one with a fancy title. There are benefits to choosing articulate, personable individuals who can put inquirers at ease while making you look like the clear choice for the job. Review your resume and be sure you’re confident in your references’ ability to help you stand out.

With a few simple tips, your references can make both you and your resume shine – and hopefully take your career to the next level.

Mulling Corporation