Do you know what your references say about you? You might be surprised to learn how often references “go rogue” on the NP they are supposed to be praising. Why would anyone agree to be a reference then fail to respond? At first I used to scratch my head over this phenomenon but after a little detective work I eventually gained some insight.
It’s possible to “burn out” your references. You should treat your references as a valuable and finite commodity. In other words don’t use them until you really need them. In today’s economy an applicant may be applying for multiple jobs which results in multiple reference requests. This is overwhelming – not to mention irritating – to even the most agreeable reference person. To avoid this problem don’t list your references on your resume. As a rule you should only be divulging your reference contact information when an offer is pending.
Do have a frank conversation with anyone who agrees to be a reference for you before you add them to your reference list. This might sound a little silly but ask them what they plan to say about you. It’s wise to know how they will respond when asked about your strengths and weaknesses. Not only will this keep you from being blindsided but it also will help you to craft your answers in your interview. It’s icing on the interview cake when your answers tie in with what your references say about you.
Another quick tip: Never ask a procrastinator to be a reference for you. Your colleague may be a great clinician and well respected but if you know they have “paperwork issues” and they are the type that never seems to empty their inbox you may want to reconsider. A desk piled a foot high with paper does not bode well for a timely response.
Bottom line – choose your references carefully! Don’t let your choice of references jeopardize your job prospects.
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