Leafing through my wife's Feb. 4 issue of Woman's World magazine, I came across this advice:
"Do this before you apply for your next job!
"According to a new survey, 70 percent of hiring managers change their mind about a candidate after speaking with a job reference! Why? Many references don't remember key details about the applicant's work, aren't enthusiastic to the hiring manager or aren't aware they're going to be used as a reference. The easy get-hired fix? Call or email your references before you submit your application to ask their permission to use them as references and remind them about important aspects of your past jobs."
Thanks, Woman's World, for this advice. Allow me to add to it:
You should always ask permission to use a person as a reference. Then, before submitting an application or just before interviewing for a job, contact your references to let them know what the job is that you're pursuing and remind them of the relevant skills or experience you have. Then, if the hiring manager contacts one or more of your references, your contacts are prepared. You certainly don't want a reference to ask a hiring manager to repeat your name, as in trying to remember who you are.
Then, after you submit an application or get interviewed, get ready to follow up and follow through. Wait four or five days, then call or email to follow up. If you've already been interviewed, follow up to see if a decision has been made or if second interviews are being scheduled. If it's an application, follow up to ask if yours has been reviewed and ask for an in-person interview.
Show the hiring managers that you are assertive and focused on getting hired, just as you would be focused on getting an assignment completed after you're hired.
If, however, you don't follow up and follow through, you might as well cast your resumes to the wind and let them go where they will. It will be just as effective. In your job search, you have to believe in yourself and your ability to perform the job you want, and then you have to get out there and sell yourself. Be assertive and be persistent.
Do what others fail to do.
(Marvin Walberg is a job-search coach based in Birmingham, Ala. For contact information, see marvin-walberg.com.)