Career Tip 17: Use Your Resources – Using References Throughout Your Search

Using References Throughout Your Search

It is just this simple: your references have positive things to say about you. You should stay connected throughout your search to remain at the forefront of their minds. Here are specific steps for preparing your references before you need them.

  1. Send them a copy of your resume, and ask for input.
  2. Connect with each reference on LinkedIn. In addition, research connections to old coworkers, since each re-connection may turn into a job lead.
  3. Ask references about opportunities in their organizations.
  4. Ask references about their competitors, customers, and suppliers and if they know someone at those organizations you can connect with on LinkedIn or in some other way.
  5. Send a business card. Actually, send a few cards, since they just may pass one along.
  6. Send a monthly update. Value your references. Stay connected on a regular basis. Don’t make the mistake of only connecting with references when you need them.
  7. Ask references to contact you once they have provided a reference. Knowing what was asked and said can be helpful information.

A Letter for Reconnecting


I hope this note finds you well. Since I am currently applying for new jobs, I would like to ask if I might use you as a reference when the time comes. In addition to being a reference, I know I would benefit from a conversation with someone like you who knows me well.

If your schedule allows, I’d like to have a coffee with you. I want to explore your thoughts on how I might work our mutual network to identify non-posted job opportunities.

Zeke, I know you are extremely busy, and I will remain as flexible as needed to accommodate your schedule. I’ll give you a call to arrange a time to get together.

Best Regards,



Express your appreciation. This may be in the form of a thank-you note or even a $5 coffee shop gift card

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