I am an internationally trained architect who is new to Canada and am so upset, because I do not have any local references, and I don’t know the best way to present my references.
I have finished an interview today for a position as an AutoCAD technician and the employer has asked me to submit 3 references. I learned from my Job Developer that this is a good sign; but I don’t know what to do as my references are all from my professional places of work overseas!
What do you advise me to do? The employer is waiting and I don’t want to lose this opportunity!
Signed: Upset Without References (UWR)
Congratulations on passing the job interview! You know you have successfully passed the interview stage when the employer asks for references.
Thank you for asking this question. References are a difficult challenge for job searchers, regardless of whether they are Canadian. After checking out with my fellow frontline practitioners, and based on what I’ve learned from various employers who come to JVS Toronto to speak to our clients, I have the following suggestions for you:
1. With today’s access to the Internet, it is much easier and acceptable for you to use references from your former places of employment from your home country. Many employers have told me that they are willing to check references all over the world, using emails as the main form of communication.
2. Always double-check with the references that they are still available, and willing to provide you with a reference.
3. The Reference List should be neatly typed on a regular white sheet of paper. It should have the full name, job title, company name, address, email address and telephone number of each of your references.
4. Keep in mind that the information on your Reference List is private, so DO NOT provide the list to potential employers until they have met with you in person and you are sure that you want them to contact the references.
5. Always bring the Reference List to the interview, to present to the employer. But, make sure you provide the list only if the interviewer asks for it!
6. After giving the Reference List to the potential employer, always make sure that you inform your references that you have given their name. Give them a “heads up” that they might be contacted — tell them about the nature of the job opportunity and the name of the employee who will be checking you out. If you can prepare them in advance, even better, as opposed to waiting until the last minute.
7. Always keep in touch with your references, even when you don’t have a job interview. Once again, networking is the key and you should keep doing it, even if you are working. You never know when you need the references. Sometimes, they may leave the company where you worked, so you should constantly keep in touch. Using LinkedIn is a great solution; other social media tools such as Facebook are effective, too.
8. Treat your references like gold; stay in touch, get them gifts, send them holiday cards and show appreciation and gratitude.
9. Speak to your references to discuss how they might answer the more challenging questions interviewers might ask, such as discussing your weaknesses or giving the reasons for your departure from that job. Although this is difficult, try to ensure that they will say only positive things about you.
10. Ask your references to contact you after they have been called by the potential employer, to provide you with feedback. Whether or not the employer called the reference and what was discussed will give you a good clue about whether they are seriously considering you for employment.
Once again, congratulations on being so close to the job offer…but remember, it’s not over yet; you still need to be checked out through your references and only when you have a hot job offer in writing (preferably) in your hands, is there a time for celebration!
Lots of luck in this stage of the game.