October 09, 2013, 2:36 PM — If you're looking for work, your references can make or break you, so the last thing you want to do is to inadvertently be rude or offend those who hold your future employment in their hands.
"Being a reference is something people do as a favor to you," Careerealism founder J.T. O'Donnell tells LinkedIn. "Do not ruin your references (and your reputation) by failing to maintain them in the proper fashion."
She notes manners matter when it comes to these valuable people, and here are two ways to ensure you don't inadvertently offend your allies.
Ask in advance - with a phone call
Always ask a person if they'd be a reference before they get a phone call on your behalf.
"Some people have very valid reasons for saying 'no,' " she notes.
Equally important, she says: Don't ask via e-mail. "Make an effort!”
Follow-up with a thank you and final update
"You should always send your references a thank-you e-mail for taking the time to be your reference," O'Donnell notes.
And once a hiring decision has been made, she also advises you let your references know how it turned out.
"Win or lose, you should let them know the outcome," she says. "They deserve to know. There is nothing worse than being a reference and never hearing from the candidate. It's downright rude - and it could lead to your reference never helping you again."