Sometimes having strong references can be a key asset when your looking to change careers.
The quality and strength of your professional references can be a true asset to any job search. Job references are most effective when they are active and updated on a regular basis. To be clear, we’re not talking about having your potential employer call the HR manager at your past employer. Most human resources managers are trained to only verify that you worked there. Not very helpful to you.
The best reference is a strong, positive one. “He’s OK” or, “He’s a good guy” is not a strong positive reference in this context. Contact you’re references and be sure the person you’re asking will give a great response, or don’t use them. Always have a small but concentrated group of professional references ready. Keep in touch with them on a regular basis and keep track of their contact information.
Call your references in advance to let them know they may get a call. It’s very helpful to give them some background regarding the position you’re applying to. In the case of a bad employment experience – where you know you would not normally get a good reference from your manager – you have an alternative. There are times when you just had a bad experience with your boss. In this case, see if you can enlist another manager or someone else who didn’t report to you for a reference.