It makes good business sense – and is respectful, professional etiquette – to stay in touch with your former bosses, according to a press release from professional reference checking firm Allison & Taylor.
As your career advances, your efforts to stay connected with past employers could pay dividends many times over when they provide you with favorable professional references. Conversely, failing to maintain a solid relationship with your references could have long-reaching professional consequences.
“As an employer, if a prospective employee’s former boss neglected to return your call looking for a professional reference, what message would that convey?” asks Jeff Shane, of Allison & Taylor. “A personal commentary can make or break a successful job search.”
Allison & Taylor suggest five job reference etiquette rules to follow:
- Call your former bosses and ask them if they are willing to be good job references for you. Be sure to thank them for supporting you in your job search if they agree.
- Let them know each and every time you give out their name and e-mail address.
- Keep your former positive references informed of your experiences in climbing the corporate ladder and your educational progress. Provide them with career updates. He or she will be more inclined to see you in a stronger light as you progress.
- Remember that spending time with a potential employer takes valuable time out of your former bosses’ day, so try to give something back. For instance, after receiving a good job reference, write a personal thank-you letter or (at a minimum) send an e-mail. Better yet, send a thank-you note with a gift card or offer to take your former boss to lunch or dinner.
- If you get a new position, call or e-mail your former boss and thank them again for the positive references. You can then provide your new professional contact information.
Additionally, it’s critical to be certain of the feedback from your professional references. If you are not 100 percent convinced that your professional references and past employers will relay positive comments about you to prospective employers, have them checked out. A professional reference check can either put your mind at ease, or supply you with the critical information and evidence that may be blocking your job search efforts.
Allison & Taylor estimates that 50 percent of their references come back as lukewarm or negative. If a reference provides unfavorable or inaccurate information to a prospective employer, there are steps that can be taken to rectify the situation. You can take steps to prevent this continued spread of negative information, either through a cease and desist letter or through more aggressive legal recourse.