A bit of reference coaching can clear up many concerns. Laakmann McDowell offers several points to help you guide the discussion in your favor.

Author:Alleyne, Sonia
Position:Work - Brief article

Hake an assessment of potential references. Although you may have had a positive working relationship with a supervisor, it doesn't mean that the person will be the best reference in helping you secure the position. Consider the following: Will he/she be an effective communicator? Does he/she communicate positively? How familiar is he/she with the projects on which you've worked? Has he/she been demoted or reassigned since your departure?

Ask permission. Before you list a reference, it's important to ask permission. The call is not only a courtesy, it's an opportunity to get the most current information on your reference, discuss the position for which you are applying, and refresh their memory on your skills and accomplishments.

Suggest areas to emphasize. While Laakmann McDowell notes that you can't ask references to embellish the truth, you can ask them to focus on particular areas of your expertise or strengths. "if you want to make sure that the caller knows that you're a strong...

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