You walk out of a successful job interview and think that the job is yours. Not so fast…the interview process is not over. Most likely an interested employer is going to ask for a list of references. Before you print out the standard list that’s been circulated from company to company for the past few years, you should give your references some thought. As mortgage and car companies will check your credit history before co-signing a loan, employers will check your references before offering you a job. It is important to make sure that your list includes current, relevant and positive information regarding your job history.
The following steps explain what you should do to maximize your reference list.
1. Choose effective references – Select individuals that have known you for at least one year. Your list should include four or five people, such as former or current supervisors, colleagues or subordinates, former customers or clients, former professors, or contacts from work-related associations.
2. Make sure your records are accurate – Verify all contact information, including phone numbers, addresses and titles, to make sure it’s up to date. It is important to make it simple for an employer to reach individuals on your list.
3. Maintain active and positive relationships with your contacts – Keep in touch with your references and make sure they are abreast of your current progress. This can be accomplished through periodic e-mails and phone calls.
4. Advise references of an important opportunity – Be selective when contacting your references about potential job opportunities. You don’t want to call them every time you send out a résumé.
5. Use a reference-checking service – Make sure you know what a reference is going to say about you. This service will contact the individuals on your list and ask questions similar to that of a potential employer.
Ensure that you include references that complement your resume. The goal should be to pick individuals that confirm the details on your resume and offer positive information about your skills and experience. A good list of references may be the difference between you and another qualified candidate. Make yours count!
You’ve found the perfect job and are confident that a job offer is forthcoming. Before you speak to your new boss or human resources manager, you should learn how to negotiate a fair salary. There are ways to prepare for the negotiation process. It is important to do your homework. Your diligence and preparation can result in a higher salary and make you a happier employee.
Important Tips to Remember
1. Do your research. It is important to determine the fair market value for your position. (In other words, what are other people making for the same job in the same area?) By taking the time to educate yourself, you are getting valuable information about what you can expect as your salary. You are also giving yourself a basis for negotiating a higher salary.
2. Don’t bring up the salary first. You don’t want to limit yourself by giving a salary that is too low. If your employer asks what salary you want, give a range or say that you expect the fair market value. Let them tell you what salary they want to offer first.
3. Know your strengths. Have a list ready that details your strengths. This can come in handy if you decide to negotiate a higher salary. By demonstrating what strengths you can bring to the position and the company as a whole, you might be able to successfully get more for your job.
4. Don’t feel like you have to take the first offer. If you feel that an offer is too low, then negotiate. Sometimes employers will offer a lower salary to give themselves room to negotiate with an employee. However, don’t decide to negotiate just for the sake of negotiating. The salary might be fair and acceptable for the type of job that is being offered. (This is when that research comes in handy!)
5. Look at the entire compensation package. It’s important to look at the offer as a whole. You might be getting a little bit less money than you wanted, but more vacation time or benefit coverage. This can amount to more money in your pocket! Be sure to take everything into consideration.
6. Ask for the offer in writing. This is usually just a formality. By getting the offer in writing, you are ensuring that the offer is firm and will not change.