In a highly competitive job market, references are playing an increasingly important role in the selection process.   You need to invest more time with this vital element of your go-to-market planning.  Here are three things I recommend.

  1. Identify six to 10 references.  Having more references will protect against reference fatigue, the same references being called multiple times.
  2. Interview your references before you start your job search.  Ask them about what they like about you, strengths and weaknesses, that sort of thing. Their responses can help you prepare for your interviews.
  3. Communicate.  When notifying your references that they may be called, tell them about the particular job and remind them of your successes in similar situations. Then follow-up to let them know what happened.  

Leverage your references.  They can be an essential market differentiator.

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