Past Employers Are Giving Poor References

Anonymous writes:
I am facing a dilemma. I just lost a job due according to the hiring manager
to my references. I had not yet provided this firm with any references other
than two letters of references I had on file. The problem is that two of my last jobs were highly political and one for a politician who many of the remaining
governmental employees do not regard favorably. My question is how to purge
these bad experiences from my resume. Is it possible just to remove them and
start looking in another field? Can I group them as consultancies and ask that
they not be contacted? I made some terrible decisions in taking these jobs
and unfortunately they have followed me around and my reputation is now
linked to these experiences. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

The Career Doctor responds:
It’s always a little more difficult to job hunt when you have worked for
one or more controversial organizations unless of course you are looking
for employment with organizations with the same political or religious
affiliation. Hiring managers are always sensitive to the dynamics of the
work environment and are looking for employees that will fit in rather than
stir the pot.
Of course just because you worked for a controversial organization does
not mean you are branded for life and since you are getting interviews it
shows that having these jobs on your resume is not totally affecting your job search.
I believe your problem lies with your view and use of references not your job experiences… though you may also be overly sensitive to the fact and that
may also come across in your interview. So besides taking my advice about
references I would ask this interviewer to honestly tell you how you performed
in the interview itself.
Now to references. First forget letters of recommendation. Might as well throw
them away or frame them for keepsakes. No employer wants letters — because
someone who would write you a letter of recommendation and hand it to you
will never say something negative about you. Employers want references –
people they can talk to about your accomplishments and performance on the job.
References do NOT need to be former bosses although if you had good working
relationships with your bosses use them. References can be co-workers other managers even major clients — anyone who worked with you and can attest to
your skills and abilities. And you always want to use people who will say favorable
things about you.
For more help in choosing references read this article published on Quintessential Careers: References:
The Keys to Choosing and Using the Best Job References in Your Job Search
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