References Must Speak to Your Current Skills

Your job search should be a lifestyle. But, unfortunately, there are too many components to ignore in 2021 and beyond.

I bet your references and mentors are perpetually in motion.

References can be that landmine if you didn’t vet them, what they will speak to, and share the value you are adding to the inquiring company. Employers want to be assured you can solve their problem, and your reference needs to speak to how you effectively solved past ones.

Some of your references are mentors who will have progressed in their careers in similar ways you would like to. But I bet you call them to mentor, and you’re unaware of how they successfully navigate their career.

You can learn from them, so it’s a good idea to keep them engaged. But if it’s been more than 10 years since they worked with you, find five to seven references you’ve worked with more recently who can also vouch for you.

Simply, references if not vetted or relevant to the problem you’ll solve for the employer is hazardous to your job search.

Think about it:

How many of your references have worked with you in the last 5 years? The last 10 years?

Think of the technology, what you’ve learned, and the life changes in the last two years?

I’ll let that simmer with you. It’s time to get new references if you are convincing employers and recruiters of your value. Your references need to match your relevance no matter your age.

Remove the landmines

On #JobSeekerNation this past week, we talked about landmines in your job search and during the interview process. You can see the entire show here.

Here are other landmines that can entrap you and make your job search more difficult:

Background checks

I tell a story about a client who once lied to her potential employer. But, first, let’s say that a “white lie” is still a lie if it misrepresents you and your integrity.

Afraid of Potential Consequences of Being Fired

The most successful CEO has been let go due to performance. It’s not because they didn’t work hard. I offer some suggestions here that should help you overcome the antiquated narrative about being fired.

Sharing accomplishments that help your potential employer

What sells you sharing expected results and strategies used to get the job done. The more you offer showing how thoughtful you are, increasing the chances of continued conversations. Using words like “great” or “excellent” matters less if the stories you share demonstrate elements an employer needs.

Being unteachable and unflexible

Nobody wants to hire someone who stays stuck in their own mud. But, that’s how a good leader or manager will see someone who doesn’t absorb new information and doesn’t customize a current strategy to fit the situation.

You don’t listen

Most people try to listen for words that seem wrong. You have to listen for what people don’t say because there’s much intel to gather from silence or omission. You can actually listen for the intent of an omission through your silence and being present in the moment.

There are opportunities left on the table because job candidates are not as thoughtful and reflective of what an employer says. And it often shows through the lack of engagement and discernment from the application process to the reference checks. It is possible to defuse the mines before they go off by investing time into what the employer wants and needs.

Originally posted at The Voice Job Seeker