Your Rights: Understanding Who To Select As a Professional Reference, and What They Can Say About You

Savvy Job Seekers Know That A Powerful Statement Of Qualifications Is Key

DETROIT, MI (October 17, 2016)  Choosing the right references is a crucial step in putting together a professional presentation of your qualifications; one that will put your best foot forward with a new employer. Your reference list should be well-rounded with input from former supervisors, direct reports, professors, peers and even clients.

With that in mind, savvy job seekers are now modernizing their reference lists to make a powerful statement of their qualifications for a new position.

See the samples below for ideas on formatting your updated list of references.

Bear in mind, it is absolutely critical that these people should represent your best interests. Don’t hesitate to perform “due diligence” and make sure that they will favorably attest to your abilities in various professional and personal capacities. Talk to them about what they intend to say to potential employers, and consider the doing a reference check to get specific information on their feedback. It’s important to be proactive when it comes to your professional career.

A caveat: employers are not bound to call only the people you’ve listed.  They are perfectly within their rights to call and request input, for example, from a supervisor you had not included on your reference list.  And it’s important to realize that despite your best efforts, it is always possible that a reference, on your list or not, may offer unfavorable commentary that will jeopardize your employment prospects.

If you suspect that a reference is conveying unfavorable information, what can be done?

  • The first step is to conduct a reference check to confirm a negative reference.  To pursue legal action this reference must be documented by a 3rd party who agrees to testify if needed.
  • Upon confirmation of a negative reference, consider a Cease & Desist letter from a law firm.  This letter alerts management of the negative reference’s identity and actions.  Typically, the very act of offering a negative reference is against corporate guidelines (unless a case has been identified, tried and found guilty in a court of law), which normally state that only a former employee’s title/dates of employment can be confirmed.
  • The negative reference will likely be cautioned by management not to offer additional comments and – out of self-interest – is unlikely to offer negative commentary again.  Allison & Taylor Reference Checking advises that the success rate of such letters approaches 100%.

Don’t leave the future of your career to chance. To find out more about creating a reference list, reference checking, and Cease & Desist letters, please visit Allison & Taylor.

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About AllisonTaylor

AllisonTaylor and its principals have been in the business of checking references for corporations and individuals since 1984. AllisonTaylor  is headquartered in Rochester, Mich. For further details on services and procedures please visit http://www.allisontaylor.com/.

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