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What does it mean to leverage your references?

Leverage means to derive additional advantage to complete a task; in this case to help you be the winning applicant in a competitive job search.

Most job applicants submit references — former bosses, peers, and direct reports — who will provide favorable information without much due diligence.

But your references have the potential to help you become better prepared for a job interview. 

John G. Self

But your references have the potential to help you become better prepared for a job interview. 

Let me explain.  When you select your references – ask them to candidly share with you your strengths and weaknesses as well as your successes. Reassure them you want the process to be a positive learning experience. 

Their answers – the good and the bad — will enable you to prepare more credible answers to commonly asked interview questions. 

That is how you leverage your references.