Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Getting the most out of your references
Someone recently asked me to fill out a reference for them. Thoughtfully, they provided a brief “cheat sheet” so that I’d be up to date on their past experiences. I thought this was a good idea and felt well prepared to gush over them. Until I took one look at the reference form, that is. As it turned out, I could only fill in 50% of the questions about that particular person. Though I knew them well within one context, the reference form asked for information beyond that bandwidth. Sadly, I was not sure whether I’d be of much help at all.
Resulting advice? Make sure you cover your bases when asking for references. If your reference has not observed you within a certain setting—and here’s where it helps to review the questions on the reference form—prep them. Let them know in detail who you are across the spectrum so that they have an adequate base from which to speak.