How to be sure you get a good job reference

Do References Really Matter?
Do References Really Matter?

Never underestimate the power of job reference. Though it comes much later in the interview process, it can make a huge difference between clinching the job and being a runner up.

According to a CareerBuilder survey 62 percent of employers, who contacted someone about a job reference, found out negative things about the job candidate. Even more worrisome, almost 69 percent of employers said they changed their minds about a candidate after talking to a job reference. Here's how to make sure that you have a reference that's in your corner.

1. Diversify your reference list
When it comes to picking your references, you want to choose people who can speak to a diversity of your work experience. Your list can include a former manager, colleague, client or subordinate; three to four people would be ideal.

2. Contact them in advance
Be sure to contact your references prior to submitting their names and contact information. Doing this can prepare the reference for contact from your prospective employer. You also want to know for yourself, the kind of reference that you're going to get.

Be direct. Ask the person that you're asking for a reference whether they can recommend you for the job.

3. Prep the reference.
Request convenient times and forms of contact from your references. Provide them with the name of your potential employer, and with some details about the job. This way, they themselves can do a little research and better refer your accomplishments with the job in question.

4. Keep in touch
Stay in touch with your reference pool. Whether or not you get the job, it's common courtesy that you check in every now and then. Besides, you may need him or her for another referral.

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