You can be just as nice as the other candidate. You can have similar academics as other applicants. You can convince us that you are a walking shiny piece of rainbow that gives birth to flying unicorns. You can even photoshop your face onto the body of…. ok, you get the idea.
So, we need to rely on the one thing that will set you apart from the others: word of mouth.
This is why references are so important.
Here are some tips to get you started:
• Don't automatically pick you supervisor. It might seem like the logical thing to do, since a boss-to-boss approach might be the best in terms of someone talking about about your quality of work. Maybe someone else you shared an office with, or an intermediate manager saw you working hard, while your boss saw you hardly working.
• Show off all of your facets. Since you behave differently with people, the way they can vouch for you will also show more perspectives of your person
• Avoid boring references! Sure you shared an office with your ex-boss who saw you bust your ass day in and day out, but his typical email responses were "ok", "sure", "no". Do you really want a reference letter like it was written by Ron Swanson. "He's a swell guy"
• Don't forget to remember to remind the forgetful. You might have told someone 4 job applications ago that he was going to be your reference. In one quick message/chat/email tell him what job you are applying for and a little bit about the company before they call them… and talking about information
• Provide Info. It could be quite relevant to the conversation between your future employer and your reference that you did specific tasks together, where as other accomplishments, not so much. For example, it could be important that you worked great together, so it points to great team work, where as the actual jobs themselves themselves mean nothing. So help a reference out: provide them with an updated copy of your resume, share your LinkedIn profile, so your reference has current and relevant information on your employment history .
• Help them help you. If you need a reference letter, you can simply grab a template , fill it in, and send it to them to edit as they deem necessary. Below we have a great list for you.
• Follow up with them. Let your references know that it was thanks to them that you got the job, or maybe the opposite. Give them the thanks they deserve and offer them the same help if and when they need
Thats it! It's as simple and obvious as you thought it to be, but, we sometimes tend to forget the details, so keep this list handy. With reliable word of mouth you CAN prove to future employers that, YES! its true! you are a Flying Unicorn Creator.
Now, for a GREAT list of different niche-specific templates to use, THE BALANCE has tons to pick from.
Good luck, and remember to reciprocate the favor!!