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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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12/26/06
Letters of Reference
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 2:46 pm

Do hiring managers really check with references?  No question that
they do.  The amount of checking varies quite a bit from company to
company and with industries.

Some firms do a detailed check into a person’s background,
including credit history, internet search, and personal reference letter
requests and conversations.

With very, very few exceptions, job seekers need to have good
references to place on their application or to mention with contact
information to hiring firms.

In some cases the hiring managers will contact references before
the actual interview.  It is so easy these days to search someone’s
record on the internet, especially after permission has been granted.  
It is quite common.

Letters of recommendation provide information from an employer
(current or former) or associate. They provide a valuable record of 
experience and testify to your strengths, talents and abilities.  Letters
of recommendation from employers may contain only title, length of
employment and salary.  It would be nicer to have indications of :

Yet, these only come with diligent effort with people with whom you
have forged productive relationships. 

D. Mattioli addressed a particular issue of finding references when
you cannot ask your boss. 
http://www.careerjournal.com/jobhunting/strategies/20060829-mattioli.html?cjpos=home_whatsnew_major

The short ‘case studies’ in his article scratch the surface at back-up
strategies that may be useful in cases where 

    one is currently working 
    there was an unbalanced relationship between you and your boss, or
    is no longer available..

Considerations:
-  work considerately and diligently with people so that when you
need a reference, it is not hard to ask for one.
-  let people know and understand what you have done in the
words you use
-  reopen lines of communication with a previous boss, update
them on your situation and ask for a reference. 
-  make sure the reference is able to provide a reference– has
the time (grant-writing, traveling, or other responsibilities might
interfere) knows what you seek
-  as a last resort, ask the human relations department to verify
employment information.

Watch-outs:
-  Because of law suits, many firms counsel direct supervisors
from offering recommendations for direct reports.
-  if you sense any hesitance in offering a reference for you,
consider not using the person.

Be interested in your comments.  Send in your suggestions.
Dan

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