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Will Reference Letters Put Your Resume at the Top of the Pile?

standing-out-from-the-crowdThe time has come, and you are about to begin your newest job search. You’ve proofread your resume, and your cover letter seems to be compelling enough based on the feedback you received.  You are about to start emailing it out; but in the back of your mind, you know that your email will be just another message on a large list of applicants in an inbox.  How can you make your resume stand out?

Why not dare to be different and try adding this to your email subject line:

Reference Letters and Resume Attached for (Job XYZ)” 

By attaching signed reference letters from your previously employers (written on company letterhead if possible), you will certainly set yourself apart from others in the job search. While this will not guarantee you will get the job, it will certainly stand out from the pack for multiple reasons.  Here’s why:

1)      The recruiter will appreciate it.  Recruiters look at resumes all day.  Checking references is a necessary step but, usually not the most enjoyable part of the recruiting process.  The idea that a recruiter can move forward confidently to the next step with you, knowing that the reference check process may be close to complete, can put you at the top of the pile.  After all, recruiters typically screen the resumes before they pass them on to the hiring manager.  They send the best candidates forward.  If you send them signed reference letters with your resume, its likely to give you a competitive edge for the job  .  What an opportunity to stand out among your peers!

2)      People like you.  It is not uncommon for interviewers to wonder what your past employers thought of you during the interview itself.  Having signed reference letters reduces those suspicions, and gives the employer interviewing you more confidence in your past.   It is amazing how a written testimony from a previous supervisor or two can positively impact your interview and application process.

3)      You are forward thinker.  By having these letters in your possession, it shows your future employer that you are on top of your game, prepared for what’s ahead, and ready to move forward. So many times we see people scrambling at the end to find people who would be references.  By having references letters signed, and complete, it shows you are organized and prepared for, what many times is, the last step in the process.

4)      It saves everyone time.  Many times HR will accept the letters as a completed reference.  Other times, they may want to speak with your past employers briefly to obtain additional information not covered. Related conversations will probably be shorter, because of the letter, and it will also limit the phone calls your references may have to take on your behalf in the first place.  As much as they probably like you, they have a job too.  It is important not to have your references bombarded with phone calls.

Being as prepared as possible for your job search will certainly be to your advantage.  Having completed references letters in advance will give you an extra advantage and an amazing first impression, prior to even interviewing for the position.

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