Leading References

Jason Alba, the soon-to-be famous JibberJobber guy wrote an excellent post on Reference Letters. He gives some great advice on collecting them ahead of time and how to store them. Don’t wait until you’re in a massive job hunt or running a major referral program to gather them.

A lot of career advisers now suggest that all employees need to document their accomplishments whenever possible. And, ask for written acknowledgement of successes (big and small). Don’t just wait for a performance review and hope that someone remembers or might have taken note of your extreme employee feat four months prior. Document, document, document. 

Keep your own accomplishment or kudos folder. Get your peers and subordinates to contribute, too.  Their feedback gives valuable insight. It’s not all about your boss’s viewpoint or your last client’s recommendation anymore. Potential employers or new clients are interested in a history of past outcomes. They also want to know how you arrived at them. Having the specific highlights of any successful project written down, testimonies captured and pictures of the finished product ( if applicable) are important in supporting the proof of your success.  References need to be non-linear, timeless and multi-dimensional to be effective.

On the flip-side, it is more acceptable now and perhaps even expected that you, as a potential employee or contractor will have checked out the boss/client’s references. Yes, you the worker, the new kid-on-the-block, the eager networker – you deserve to know if you’re signing up with an above-board, stand-up kind of leader.  Gone or at least slowly fading (thankfully) are the days when signing up for a new gig meant that you were the only one who had to prove yourself. It’s okay, even smart to check out their references, too.


1 comment so far

  1. Jason Alba on

    Cool thought on checking the references of places you are going to work! I had done that in a shady, under-the-table way of networking (asking people what they thought about the boss) – never thought about asking to see the letters of reference 🙂

    BTW, I am *already* famous – to my kids and wife! And my mom loves me to :p

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