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Susan Geary CCW is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and owner of 1st RateResumes.
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Choose your References Wisely

When you're called in for a job interview, you will be expected to bring along a list of references. Employers typically ask for 3-4 professional references so they can ask other people what they think of your work ethic, quality, and demeanor. While the cover letter and resume almost always utilize matching letterhead and stationery, most jobseekers fail to format their references accordingly. This is a perfect opportunity to form another great impression of your presentation skills. Use the same paper and letterhead that you use on your resume and cover letter.

Since the Hiring Recruiter wants 3-4 references, chances are they won't be able to contact all of them in a timely matter. Some of your contacts may be out of the office, on vacation, or just too busy. That's why I suggest providing 6-8 well-rounded references: 2 from Supervisors, 2 from Co-workers, 2 from Subordinates (if you are a Manager) and 2 from Professionals outside your office that you work with on a regular basis, whether it's an Information Officer or a Network Feed Producer.

Having an Information Officer tout that you write accurate stories and don't fudge the facts says a lot! So does having a Subordinate say that you motivate them to do their best. A common mistake with references, is that most job seekers seem to think they all need to be from their Managers. Not true. How well you get along with your Co-workers and Subordinates is equally important. The extra 3-4 references also show the Hiring Recruiter that you respect their time and do more than you are asked. Make sure you ask permission first before including anyone as a reference, and ask them to inform you if they get a call.

The best way to format your references page in MS Word is to insert a table with 2 Columns and 4 rows. Remove the borders and tab over to start a new reference. Order the references on the page starting with the most impressive, or if you are aware that the Decision Maker may actually know some of your references, put them closer to the top. And finally, send or email a copy of your resume to every reference on your list. That way they can be on the "same page" when the call comes in.

Formatting your references accordingly will make you stand out among the crowd and give you the edge in your next job search.