What used to be an afterthought—employment references—has been elevated in the 21st century legal job market to a position of some prominence. And that means that references merit significantly more attention than most job candidates accord them. This series takes you, step-by-step, through the process of managing your references.
Why Manage References?
References have never been a more important element of legal job-hunting than they are today. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to treat this job-search component as an afterthought. Instead, you need to give it the quality time and attention that it merits.
Often, when a job interviewer asks a candidate for a reference list, the response is a pregnant pause followed by either something to the effect that: “I don’t have it with me, but I’ll get it to you right away,” or worse, “I don’ t have a list, per se. Let me think for a minute.” Perhaps I was an inordinately harsh employer, but whenever I received responses like these, that was the end of my interest in the job applicant.
Not only do you need to be prepared to deliver a reference list at every stage of the job-search process; you must also actively manage your references. That means more than identifying them and imparting this information to prospective employers when requested.