Employer Isn’t Serving as Useful Reference

Al writes:
My career has been sidetracked because my supervisor for the last 3 years is not supporting the accomplishments on my resume. I have tried using other references but omitting my supervisor stands out because of my management position. I do great on the interview but my references do not support my resume.

The Career Doctor responds:
Al I think there are a couple of different issues here so I will try and sort through them.
First we’ve all had bosses that were unsupportive at best and conniving at worst. I’m sorry you are in this situation and you really need a plan to move on to a better situation — something it sounds as though you’ve been trying to do. I don’t know why you would keep using this person as a reference if s/he does not give you a good recommendation.
Second there must be plenty of other people you can use as a reference — other managers and colleagues at your level who know your accomplishments or a supervisor from another division. You might also use a subordinate that you worked closely with. Or try and find someone you worked closely with who is no longer at the company. If asked why you haven’t included your current supervisor simply respond that s/he does not know you are currently looking for new employment — and that you would like to keep it that way.
Third and this one is the hard one — have you been totally truthful about your accomplishments? Have you really accomplished all the things you say you did on your resume? Remember that a resume is a statement of facts. While you can put a spin on
your accomplishments the bottom line is that they all must be truthful statements.
Fourth if you really want to know what your supervisor is saying about you — and you’re willing to pay for that information — you could consider using one of the reference-checking services listed at Quintessential Careers: Job References & Portfolio Services.
Best of luck in finding new employment.