You're an excellent worker who's a strong team member, is always reliable, and continually produces above-average work, always on time. Or are you?

Yes ManIn any job hunt, personal references are pivotal, but sometimes we treat them as an afterthought, merely appending the names of a few former colleagues to the end of our resumes or suggesting that they are "available upon request." It's time to take charge of your reputation and make sure you have plenty of good references and trustworthy referrers on hand at all times.

In eWeek, Don Sears asked recruiters what job hunters should do to get better references. Their advice:

  1. Call your former bosses and ask them if they are willing to be good job reference for you.
  2. Let them know when you give out their name and e-mail address.
  3. Keep your former positive references informed of your experiences in climbing the corporate ladder and your educational progress. Give them a career update.
  4. If you plan to use these positive references over the years, you need to give something back such as a thank you letter.
  5. If you win the new position, call or e-mail your former boss and thank them again for the positive references.

One other hint: An easy way to collect lots of positive comments quickly is to request personal recommendations on your social networking profiles. Just remember: If someone gives you a positive paragraph, make sure to provide one of your own for them in return.

-- Don Willmott