As part of the normal process of getting a job in finance and accounting, human resource teams will verify the credentials and work performance from your past jobs. This is done a number of ways, either directly by the recruiter or through a third-party background check agency. In either case, having the best possible outcome often has to do with the people you choose to be your financial career references.
Here are some questions that can help you to determine who should be on your list of financial career references and contacts.
Did they work with you in the last 5-7 years?
If you are going to include a financial career reference, consider that over the years people may forget you if it’s been more than 5-7 years on a particular job. References may feel uncomfortable about sharing any feedback about you if they cannot recall what you did back then. Try to use more recent references whenever possible.
Did they supervise or observe your financial work in any way?
It’s really not fair to ask someone to be a career reference for you if they never had a chance to see your work in the area of finance you worked in. Consider that they may be asked specific questions about the quality of your work, the types of projects you worked on, and how well you managed your previous tasks.
Did they also work in finance or accounting roles?
It can be a boost to your ability to get a job in finance if the person being referenced also works in the same industry. How? Because they are keenly aware of how your skills translate to success in a financial role since they know what’s going on in the industry. Choose someone who is active in the financial markets.
Do you have good rapport and stay in contact with them?
No sense using a financial career reference if the person hasn’t spoken to you in years or you have had some kind of falling out. Treat your references well by at least keeping a way of contact with them (social media works well for this) and letting them know from time to time how you are doing and if you are searching for work.
Do your references also have a positive reputation or credentials?
Choosing a solid career reference also means going with folks who also have a solid reputation in the industry. Look to add those who have valuable career experience and educations across leading industries. This will impress the person conducting the reference checks.
Are they easy to get in touch with?
Last, but certainly not least, make sure that your finance career references are relatively easy to get in touch with, either by phone or email. You don’t want to end up losing a job opportunity because the hiring manager cannot get a reference to respond for a request to talk.
Use the above tips as you evaluate who you will use as your finance career references, and regularly update this list as you grow in your career.