What to Do If Your References Won’t Get Back to You

It’s a job hunter’s nightmare: You have your resume all set to go, your cover letter prepped and proofed … and you can’t get a hold of your potential references. What steps can you take next?

  • Make sure you’ve done your due diligence. If all you’ve done is email, you may want to call and either speak to the previous manager/supervisor or at least leave a message, preferably with a person. Emails and even voicemails are too easy to overlook. When you want someone to give you a reference, you need to make a legitimate effort to connect with that person. If, after you’ve made your attempts, you still hear nothing back, it’s time to try something else.
  • Try other people. Have you done any internships or volunteer work within the past few years? Contact one of those supervisors to see if they will speak toward your work ethic and experience. This may give you a breadth that other candidates may not have. You may also list a more experienced colleague who can give a solid reference. Or you may want to contact a supervisor from two jobs ago if you can’t list your current manager because you want to keep your search secret for now.
  • Ask yourself if you’ve done great work. You may believe you’ve done an excellent job. Yet there might be a reason your supervisor hasn’t gotten back to you other than the fact they’re busy. Sometimes no response means they don’t feel comfortable acting as one of your references because they can’t give a good response. If you’ve done good work on your current job, tell the potential employer you’d be happy to connect them with your manager when you have an offer contingent upon a reference check.

Above all, make sure you do quality work, so you can get good references every time. If you need help finding your next job, make sure you work with PrideStaff.

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