- Closing the Deal -
by fergus mellon
You will need to have professional references and you should have these set up i.e. verbally agreed to, at the beginning of your job search.
Word of warning: do not just expect a reference to be there when you get the job if they are not a close professional contact! I have been surprised when a former (but junior) member of my team sent me an email to say "I got XY job and have put you down as a reference. Thanks for doing this." While I still acted as a reference for them it did make me think that I was being taken for granted.
Ask your reference ahead of time if they will act on your behalf. In terms of making the request, if you no longer work together then email is fine. If you are in the same office, then make sure you make the request in person. The goal is to ensure that your reference is on your side and one easy way of doing this is to show them the respect that they deserve.
When you get the offer, also tell your referee! I have been a reference for many people and those for whom I am a reference, I want them to get the job. However I have found that about 20% of the people who I have acted for never close the loop to say not just thank you (you should thank your reference every time!) but also to say that they either got the job and decided to take it or declined the offer. Make sure that you close the loop so that your reference is not left wondering whether they did a good job or not.
Next section: Negotiating Your Salary