How to Make the Best List of Job References

Hearing the right voice on the other end of the phone could sway employers.

A little extra preparation may be all you need to land a job from afar
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Be courteous to your references. Individuals willing to champion your cause during the interview process deserve both your consideration and gratitude. Here are some ways to show due deference:

1. Don't let them get blindsided. Unaware of their presence on your list or an ensuing phone call, your references could be caught flat-footed and fail to present you in the best possible light. "It is better to be prepared to notify your references that there is an opportunity that may come up, and review with them their role so that they're aware of what the company would likely be asking," Pirri says.

2. Rotate your references. If you're applying to scores of jobs, your references could get bombarded with calls. Initially enthusiastic about touting you as an employee, they could become burnt out if they're spending multiple breaks and lunch hours responding to inquiring employers. "It's nice enough that someone would say yes to being a reference, [but] you don't want to abuse that," Brown-Volkman says. To limit the volume of phone calls, change your list (if you can) for each job you apply to or specify which individuals you want to be contacted.

3. Show appreciation, and keep them in the loop. Your references are doing you a tremendous favor and may prove vital in getting you hired. To demonstrate your appreciation, "don't forget to say thank you to your reference and let them know what happened," Brown-Volkman says.