Besides having a wonderful looking resume, every CIO needs to guard and cherish their business references. These are people, who can share their stories about your stellar career with potential employers. Have you thought carefully about whom you will choose to be your reference? Here are some guidelines to help you prepare your reference list.
Preparing the list
Once you start on a job search expect to be asked during the selection process for a list of your references. Never list your references on your resume! You don’t even have to mention on your resume that references will be supplied on request. It is assumed that you will make them available. Be sure all have agreed to be your reference. The best thing to do is to place all your references (ideally three to five references, not twenty) on a separate document. For a finished look, prepare the reference sheet with the same design as your resume, with your contact information as a header. One candidate sent me all four of her references in four separate emails, which I then had to cut and paste into a Word document. Yikes! Include each reference’s name, job title, company, address, city, state, telephone number, e-mail address and business relationship to you (boss, peer, or staff).
A potential employer or recruiter will most likely want to talk to one of your supervisors. Please don’t give out your current supervisor’s contact information unless he or she knows that you are looking for another position. I have had candidates give me supervisors’ names who did not know their employee was looking at a new position, not good! Make sure anyone on your reference list has agreed to be a reference for you. Don’t go back too far in your work history if you can help it. Other potential references can be peers or colleagues who know your leadership and management style and subordinates who you have managed. Make sure you have their latest contact information and keep it updated. Realize that most potential employers will telephone a reference, so letters of reference are nice, but they will not be taken as a serious reference.
Thank each of your references for being your reference. These are special people in your network. Take them to lunch, stay in touch, and write thank you notes. These are people who know vital facts about your work experiences, your key strengths, and they can help you obtain your next healthcare IT position.