Thanking the References Who Helped in Your Job Search

Susan writes:
I looked in a variety of areas but cannot find any advice on how to
appropriately thank the people who provided references for me
during my job search.
What would you suggest?

The Career Doctor responds:
I think it’s not so important how you do it but that you do it. Showing how
much you appreciate the person for serving as a reference potentially
sealing your job-offer with a positive review of your skills and abilities is
your primary concern.
And I think a thank-you note or letter is fine. In the letter thank the person
for his or her time provide basic information about your new job and close
with a promise to stay in touch.
Now have I heard of job-seekers who went above and beyond a simple note?
Yes of course. Some people also send gifts flowers candy. But I want to
again stress that the most important thing to do is simply acknowledge their
help in achieving your career/job-search goal.
For other job-seekers can we talk just a bit about the importance of references?
The importance of references has grown in the past few years as more
organizations complete more detailed background checks of applicants.
Here are a few key tips to remember about references.

  • Think strategically about reference choices. You want people who will make
    the strongest case for you.
  • Get permission to use someone as a reference. Never assume it’s okay to
    use someone as a reference; always seek them out.
  • Collect all the details for each reference. You’ll need full name title and as
    much contact information as possible.
  • Keep your references informed (and perhaps coached). Send your resume and
    other job-search materials to your references and keep them informed of all serious
    employment opportunities.
  • Be sure to thank your references for their help. It would be a
    grave error not to thank these folks for their help in the securing of your next job.

Read more in my article: References:
The Keys to Choosing and Using the Best Job References in Your Job Search
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