This content originally appeared in our newsletter in November 2013. Want first dibs on tips, invitations to free events, and access to job postings? Sign up here.
I’ve recently seen a number of reference checks tank teachers’ job searches. The principal was super psyched about a teacher… and then something was said during a reference check that wasn’t just right.
These teachers are often feel confused because their references were people they trusted. Unfortunately the plain truth is that many people are jerks, but sometimes it’s simple miscommunication and in 90% of cases, you can prevent this from happening. Here are four tips for getting great references.
1. Tell your references that they’re on your reference list.
Duh. And if you know someone is going to call for sure, let them know in advance.
2. Make sure your reference ratio is 2 supervisors to 1 colleague.
If your list is mostly co-workers and professors, I’m immediately suspicious of why that is so. Go back into your job history if you need to do so to get this ratio.
(Image courtesy of Talent Bits and Bytes)
3. Coach your references.
This may seem like you’re overstepping your boundaries, but it’s a habit practiced by successful jobseekers. When you ask someone to be a reference, tell them you know that s/he is busy so you’re providing talking points in case they are needed, including 1-2 examples of the good work you believe you did in your position … PLUS one thing you improved upon.
That second thing is key. Every reference checker asks about something negative about your performance, and if the question is leading and the person feels like s/he is on the spot and wants to sound thoughtful and smart, your reference could say something overly critical on accident. Your preparation will be appreciated all around and prevent unintended consequences.
4. Organize the contact information for your references.
Each reference’s contact info must include his/her professional email and phone number. However, if a reference likes to be contacted via Gmail or cell, list that too and label it as “Preferred Contact Information” with any other suggestions such as best times to make contact. We actually want to get in touch with people, but we want to make sure they are legitimate references, too.
Make your references work for you.
Confessions of a Teacher Recruiter: How to Create an Extraordinary Resume and Hook Your Dream Job includes more tips for creating a great teacher resume and managing your teacher job search. Get your copy today.