By PERRI CAPELL
From the National Business Employee Weekly
If youre like a lot of job hunters these days, youre trying to find a new job before quitting your current position. This means you cant provide your current boss or other managers at your company for a reference, or else theyll know youre looking around. What do you do?
The best solution is to provide names of supervisors you worked with at former employers, current colleagues, suppliers, vendors and other external business contacts who have worked with you or contacts from professional organizations who are familiar with your work, says Jeffrey Heath, president of the Landstone Group, a New York recruiting firm.
"The onus is on you to provide people who can talk about you and provide a window on your accomplishments and results," he says.
Not being able to provide your current boss as a reference is a more pervasive problem than youd think, especially in information technology and other hot industries where employees are courted avidly. About 93% of all candidates recruited by the Landstone Group, which specializes in high-technology positions, are employed, says Mr. Heath.
Thats why being a good networker is important, To provide names of former supervisors, you must stay in touch with them and know where theyre currently working. When a former boss leaves a company, find out where he or she is going and check in periodically.
Asking co-workers to provide references can be tricky because your company may prohibit disclosing any information about former employees except specific facts, such as employment dates. Again, youll need to establish solid relationships to convince them to speak on your behalf
Dont assume that because youre job hunting on the sly you dont need to provide references. Every candidate must offer names of people who can vouch for his or her capabilities. "If I couldnt get good references, I would question the caliber of the individual," says Mr. Heath. "Anyone whos good has good people to talk about him. "
But associates dont have to guarantee theyll produce glowing testimonials. Employers and recruiters become suspicious if references only say "glorious" things, says Mr. Heath. "Thats unnatural, we all have areas we can improve upon," he says. "Employers just want to know that you can do the job and not disrupt things."
-- Ms. Capell is managing editor of the National Business Employment Weekly.
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