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Ever wondered how many candidates miss out on a job opportunity because their references provided less than stellar information? One research firm conducted more than 1,000 telephone interviews with senior managers of companies that employed at least twenty people and the results of those interviews revealed 20% of candidates are disqualified due to a reference check. That’s remarkable since all of us are sure our references can only help our efforts of landing a position. Turns out, those references might not be as solid as we think. founder A. Harrison Barnes says this reiterates the importance of carefully choosing those you wish to include as a reference. Keep reading for more information on what your references are being asked as well as tips on choosing the right ones.

By far, the one piece of information a potential employer is looking for is how well a candidate performed in the past. The founder says the study revealed 36% of those interviewed say that is top priority. Following that, managers wanted to know the reference’s opinions on a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses as well as confirmation that the information, such as job title and employment dates, are accurate on the resume. A. Harrison Barnes says the extremely competitive job market means more hiring managers are relying on reference checks to help them determine the best person to fill a position.

So how do you know who to include as a professional reference? Barnes has a few suggestions that will serve your purposes. “It’s absolutely crucial that you don’t assume it’s OK to use someone as a reference. Never use anyone as a reference without asking beforehand.” Also, it’s important to carefully consider who you’re going to approach. You want your references to have a true knowledge of your skills, your work habits and your work ethics. Also, just as you don’t want to misrepresent yourself on your resume, don’t misrepresent your references, either. No need to sugarcoat a job title of your reference. It could easily backfire and put you in a less than ideal light. Also, don’t forget that an interviewer isn’t limited to the references you supply. He can easily make a phone call to a acquaintance who you both know or even take a look at your Linkedin profile, Facebook page or even your Twitter feed.  When it comes to landing a new job, it’s best to assume nothing.

Finally, before your references can be of any help to you, there must be an exceptional resume for a potential employer to work from. This is where’s team of resume experts can step in and create a flawless resume that will get you noticed. Already have a resume put together? Our team can review it for you, point out the strengths and weaknesses so that it can perfected to highlight the best of what you have to offer.

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