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Thread: Professional references: send with resume?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Professional references: send with resume?

    Just curious what everyone's opinion is regarding professional references and when to send them.

    Along with the cover letter and resume, even if they're not requested?

    Or, wait until they're requested.

    It seems to me like sending them along with the cover letter and resume may be a good way to separate yourself from other applicants during the initial review period.

    Kind of like name-dropping to get a free meal or something.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    If you're looking at that code enforcement gig in a former township just south of Favorite City...

    My reference sheet is two-column, about a dozen gracious folks. Name, e-mail, phone, how I know them, and "since 1982" or whatever. Once it's in a nice digital format, easy enough to PDF it and attach, or print and enclose.

    Know the trick about mailing your goods flat in a large envelope?

    HTH

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Most of the advice I've heard says don't do it, but will only tell you from personal experience - my resume is two pages and to use up the 1/3 of a sheet on the second page I put three references (and a note that more could be available). I have been told on more than a few occasions how impressed people were, especially if you are just sending (cold calling) in a resume then everything is right there.

    And yes, we all know your references will be positive interviews, however, I truly believe it is the quality of the people you have as references than what they actually have to say. College professors are nice, but only if you are just getting out of college. Pastors, Fire Chiefs, and friends shouldn't be even considered for a resume list if unless you are going for a job in those sectors.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    Just curious what everyone's opinion is regarding professional references and when to send them.

    Along with the cover letter and resume, even if they're not requested?

    Or, wait until they're requested.

    It seems to me like sending them along with the cover letter and resume may be a good way to separate yourself from other applicants during the initial review period.

    Kind of like name-dropping to get a free meal or something.
    Give them what they ask and nothing more. 7 times out of 10 I don't mail my digital portfolio (although I found some creative ways around that). Personally, a letter of recommendation, unless specifically written to the potential employer, could shoot you in the foot ESPECIALLY if that person is recommending you for unrelated experience. How can a letter from a GIS boss be helpful for an economic development position? EVERYTHING has to be tailored specifically to the job position.

    It's a personal choice. I have plenty of letters on file (all with digital signatures for updating) but I haven't sent any out in +5 years. I actively touch base with most of my references, even those going back 11 years, so they won't be caught off guard when the phone rings.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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  5. #5
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Give them what they ask and nothing more.
    This. I'm a stickler for following orders... maybe it's a holdover from my Marine Corps days. I know of two people who commonly interview and hire folks for the firms they work at (one in engineering and one in public accounting) who use how well an applicant follows the given orders as a way to weed them from the pool. If the posting requests a resume and cover letter via email and no phone calls and you send in a resume, cover letter, references, salary expectations, work examples, etc. your package goes directly to the recycle bin. If you drop of your resume and cover letter in person it goes directly in the recycle bin. If you call HR or somebody to find the status of your application, they will go search your package out and throw it in the recycle bin.

    Even if you are applying with an organization that doesn't toss out extra materials as soon as receiving them, sending more than what's requested is just giving yourself an extra opportunity to make a mistake or giving them something extra to possibly pass judgement on (rightly or wrongly) in a negative manner.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  6. #6
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I have never included a reference sheet with an initial cover letter and resume unless it was requested. That said, I ALWAYS bring it with me to an interview and ask if they would like it at the end.

    On that note though, I have a full page of references with both telephone and email contact information. However, I have added a line about the nature of the reference:
    • direct supervisor at ________
    • subordinate at _________
    • coworker at __________
    • community stakeholder at ___________
    • elected official at __________
    • commission member at ___________
    • ...and so on
    This allows them to select which references to call if they have a particular concern, interest or need to check on. I've gotten several compliments on that technique.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    On that note though, I have a full page of references with both telephone and email contact information. However, I have added a line about the nature of the reference:
    • direct supervisor at ________
    • subordinate at _________
    • coworker at __________
    • community stakeholder at ___________
    • elected official at __________
    • commission member at ___________
    • ...and so on
    This allows them to select which references to call if they have a particular concern, interest or need to check on. I've gotten several compliments on that technique.
    That's a good idea.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I do not believe in providing references up front unless absolutely necessary. I would rather know when these people will be contacted.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  9. #9
    I'm not convinced that any of my references have ever been checked. I know some HR managers do, but in my case I don't think it's ever happened. I can't know for sure of course, but I keep in contact with my reference people so I think I would have known.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    I think references are more needed for the hiring of young professionals, entry level folks, internships, college-level help, etc. After that they are not relevant because your work and former supervisors should speak for your level of ability and competence.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by beach_bum View post
    I think references are more needed for the hiring of young professionals, entry level folks, internships, college-level help, etc. After that they are not relevant because your work and former supervisors should speak for your level of ability and competence.
    None of my former (pointy-haired) supervisors is allowed to state anything beyond employment dates and salary levels. And in the contracting world, folks change roles and functions very often.

    Just looked at my reference sheet; my dance calling mentor (who knows what a go-getter I am) since 1983, and my Monday morning band director (likewise), since 2010.

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