When it comes to the professional world, specifically the job market, references does rule the roost. Without a good reference all those good things you have claimed that you are totally capable of doing are just a few words on a piece of paper – that accounts for nothing. References- especially positive references validate your claims and prevents them from becoming tall claims. These work as your endorsements. Think of yourself as a brand. Every brand needs some endorsing or promotion don’t they? That’s what references are for, they endorse your potential, your skills, your credibility etc.
Based on positive references, your prospective employer will hire you. So most of the graduates and young professionals before applying to an exciting new position, usually have a list of references they hope to get written recommendation from. It can be a former employer, project manager, team leader, supervisor, professor or even a senior colleague. Moot point, references are indispensable in the corporate world. However in order to prevent any mishaps ( i.e negative or useless references that can set your career back decades) we are making a list of the few people who should never make it to your reference list.
The Individual Who is A Friend of a Friend.. You Get the Drift : Even if said person works at your dream firm, resist the idea of asking for a reference. First of all, since they do not know you personally, they will be highly unlikely to give you a recommendation. No one will be willing to risk their career and integrity by vouching for someone they barely know. If you think this individual can be a valuable reference for the future, reach out to them through professional networking sites like LinkedIn.
Introduce yourself , list your skills and area of work experience and why you think you are a good candidate/prospective employee for the company. This category will also include acquaintances – people who you are cordial with, but who doesn’t know you – your skills, strengths, etc. Nowadays, whenever a source, refers somebody, he/she are cross questioned by the employer – why they think a particular candidate will be an absolute perfect fit for a job. If they cannot give a satisfactory reply, you will be in trouble.
The Individual Who has Never Worked With You : In the corporate world, employer recommendations – especially recent employer who have worked with you in a relevant industry will be the perfect recommendation. An individual who has never worked with you either as employer or as colleague will be in no position to vouchsafe your skills, enthusiasm and efficiency.
The Individual With Whom You Have Not Have had Contact in Recent Years : When submitting recommendations, recent references – the glowing recommendation of a recent employer, supervisor, project manager, team leader will work the best. Recommendations of your boss at your first job will not count ( unless it was a related field you worked in ) . You want your latest, industry specific experience, knowledge and skills verified and acknowledged yes? Then only the reference of your recent employer would count.
The Individual With Questionable/Dubious Reputation : Unfortunately most of the times, graduates/ job seekers are so relieved of getting a letter of recommendation that they do not think to run a background check on the referee. If your referee has a less than stellar reputation at workplace – i.e, has not a position of considerable power and influence at the company or firm, then his/her recommendations will be ignored or will not cut any ice.
The Veteran : While the retired professional, or the veteran, can be a wonderful mentor, filling you up with valuable do’s and dont’s about the industry, train you with the basic skills you need to gain a foothold in the industry, can even introduce you to some important people who can become valuable long term connections, his reference while not dismissed should be taken with a pinch of salt, as retired professionals, have long distanced themselves from the industry, they have lost touch with the current trends and cannot vouchsafe your latest skills.
Your Relative : Your parent, uncle, aunt etc will be extremely likely to have a biased opinion of you. So their reference will not be taken seriously. (Unless your parent, relative is an influential political leader, or business tycoon who wields a lot of power and clout, his/her recommendation will not make an impact). The employer wants an objective, opinion, not a sugar coated, emotionally biased reference.