When applying for university, scholarships or jobs, many times you are asked to provide references to ensure academic standing or the level of professionalism you demonstrate. Great references are very valuable, so why do we treat our referees so poorly? This post will present 5 tips on how to give your referees the treatment they deserve!
1. Ask if they will be a reference for you. Don’t take your referees by surprise. If you ask them ahead of time, they can prepare for and be expecting a phone call or email. If you write their name down on your application without their permission, they will not have thought about or prepared anything to say about you. They will also be more likely to give a reference for you if they know ahead of time and aren’t taken by surprise.
2. Send them your CV. While this person may be aware of the work you did for them in the past, they may not know about your other skills and experience. If you provide your CV in the initial email asking for a reference, then they can be up-to-date on your professional progression and background.
3. Provide a description of what you are applying for. If you provide your reference with a job description they can see not only the position you are applying for but, the traits that they are seeking to fit the role. Knowing the traits they are looking for is crucial in a reference so your referee can demonstrate how you fit the description. With a job description and your CV, your referee can compare and relate them to each other and provide a more well-rounded reference.
4 .Provide an update on what happened. Providing a follow-up with referees is very important. Whether you were offered the scholarship or the position or not, it is important to keep your referees updated. They took time out of their schedules to assist you in your professional development, the least you can do is let them know if their reference was successful.
5. Say thank you! As stated above, your referee took time out of their likely busy schedules to do you a favour. Send them a message thanking them! It’s not only a respectful thing to do, but you never know if you will need to use them as a reference in the future.