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  • Marc Baloch

The Power of References: How to Turn the Page on a New Chapter

Remember the old saying, "You're known by the company you keep"? In the professional world, this translates into, "You're known by the references you provide."


In our professional journey, the relationships we cultivate, the impressions we make, and the reputation we build all come together when a potential employer asks for a reference.


References are not just about validating your resume. They can furthermore be used to bring your work ethic, skills, and character to life. They add a human perspective to your professional story and can help bridge the gap between being a candidate and becoming an employee.

References are not just about validating your resume. They can furthermore be used to bring your work ethic, skills, and character to life. They add a human perspective to your professional story and can help bridge the gap between being a candidate and becoming an employee.

However, what happens if you've been a part of a company that didn't quite align with your values or if a reference doesn't reflect your best work?


1️⃣Context Matters 🔍


If you've worked in an environment that wasn't conducive to your growth or was at odds with your principles, it's crucial to provide context to your potential employer. Explaining the circumstances and highlighting what you've learned from the experience can provide a more comprehensive picture.


2️⃣ The Power of Multiple References 🗣️


A single reference should never define your entire professional pathway. It's crucial to provide a variety of references from different roles and organizations. This diverse perspective can help a potential employer see the consistency of your work ethic and character, even when individual experiences might vary.


3️⃣ Bad References - Red Flag or Learning Opportunity? 🚩


A less-than-stellar reference isn't always a red flag. Sometimes, it can be a sign of growth. It's all about how you handle it. If you know you'll get a bad reference, be transparent about it. Explain what happened, how you've grown, and how you've implemented changes to better your professional conduct.

A less-than-stellar reference isn't always a red flag. Sometimes, it can be a sign of growth. It's all about how you handle it.

Remember, references are not just about celebrating our victories - if done right, they acknowledge our challenges and demonstrate our capacity to learn, grow, and adapt.


For those who had an issue with references or think they do seek those that were part of your former peer group or managers. Catch up but don't share that it would be about this reference issue but more general. Discuss challenges you faced and make the other one aware of other perspectives or insights that they may not know.


For organizations conducting references, get a minimum of 4 who know the employee well not just.

Remember, references are not just about celebrating our victories - if done right, they acknowledge our challenges and demonstrate our capacity to learn, grow, and adapt.

If you observe a red flag, create consistency by asking others if they had the same perspective. If two or more share the same, then there is smoke; with three, it's a fire!


Please note that I had once taken seven references, where the initial unofficial soft reference was negative. These seven provided key insights and proved the candidate to be a top and highly successful CEO.


Any questions, get in contact!


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