References

By definition, a Criminal Justice degree reference is someone who can vouch for your abilities. This could be a recommendation from a former teacher, a former employer, a co-worker, or someone who knows you and can speak of you in a good light. For potential employers, the checking of a person’s references is really the only way that they can gauge how you may have performed in the past and whether you will be a good fit for their company’s future. It is important to have a select set of reference people who will truly go to bat for you when the job search begins in earnest. These are the people who may undoubtedly sway an employer’s decision to select you as the best candidate for the job.

Reference Preparation

Prepare your list of references carefully and know in advance how the person providing the reference will speak about you when asked. Never assume that people can be a reference, without first requesting their permission that allows you to list their name. This also applies to the fact that you definitely want to know ahead of time that the information being provided will place you in a good light speaking highly of your skill sets, your character, or whatever the reference subject is at hand. It is also best to let your references know just what type of position of employment you are seeking, thereby allowing them to tailor their reference to fit the situation.

Reference People

Who should your reference people be? Let’s just say it depends upon where you are in your career. If you’re starting out with no major past experience in the field in which you are seeking employment, it probably means that a former teacher, a colleague, or a former employer of that summer job will be your reference. Once you gain career experience and you are now looking for new employment as a way for advancement, your references will be focused from a past customer, client, co-worker, or maybe even a former employer. Just be knowledgeable, however, that many former employers may be reluctant to provide you with a reference due to possible litigation that could be brought against them in the case of a false reference. Living in an age of extreme sensitivity that can lead to the courtroom because of what someone says about another person, often leaves past employers providing no more information about you than your past job title, your past employment dates, and your previous past salary.

Reference Documenting

Preparing your list of references is best done on a separate document and not included on your resume. This allows you to tailor your references to the exact employment position that you are seeking and highlight your abilities in a specific area. Your document containing references should typically list three to four people with their name, telephone number, address, and email in some cases. Check and recheck your reference information, especially the telephone number, to ensure the accuracy of the information, as many people will change telephone service providers or email addresses over time.

Reference Networking

If you change employment, obtaining a letter of reference can sometimes be a benefit that provides immediate proof of past employment, although be aware that many potential employers may not accept such a letter. Maintain an active reference network, since you’ll never know when those reference people will come in handy for the future.

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