The Reference Portfolio
The reference portfolio is a powerful tool that deviates from traditional ways of thinking about landing a new job. But the truth is, the reference portfolio may be the most powerful tool you’ll have in your job transition arsenal. Take a moment and grab a few books from your library and look on the back covers. Chances are you’ll see a number of endorsements or references; each singing the praise of the book. These short references entice potential readers to read the book. A reference portfolio is exactly the same. It’s a 1-page document consisting of 4-6 references that will sing your praise and entice hiring professionals to want to meet and hire you!
Hiring managers, human resource professional and executive recruiters know that in high unemployment job markets, many candidates embellish, exaggerate and outright lie on their résumés. Even in low unemployment job markets, hiring authorities read résumés with a healthy skepticism. The reference portfolio is a secret weapon that eliminates the negative manner in which most hiring professionals read your résumé!
The portfolio is made up of professional references who confirm and validate that the achievements and contributions you noted on your résumé (your value) are truthful and accurate. If you are a student, college graduate, returning to the workforce or have limited professional references, you’ll want to identify those references, professional or personal, who will attest to the fact that you are a valuable candidate and can contribute to organizational goals.
Once you have identified the 4-6 people who will make up your portfolio, I advise that you write the reference statements yourself! Celebrities do not write the advertisements for the products and services they endorse, and your references shouldn’t write the advertisements for you, either. I suggest you write the 2-4 sentence testimonials, send them to your references for their review, and let them make whatever edits they want to make.
Send the Reference Portfolio with your résumé
You will send / email the reference portfolio along with your cover letter and résumé. If you are emailing it, the reference portfolio will be the last page of the résumé.
Finally, once you have a reference portfolio, you can add the following P.S. and insert it at the bottom of your cover letter or email. (And I suggest you bold it so the P.S. is a focal point of the cover letter.
PS: I have included my reference portfolio to assure you that the information and achievements contained on my résumé are truthful and accurate.
A Sample Reference Portfolio
John P. Hendricks, Director of Operations firstname.lastname@example.org
THE MIDWEST GOLF COMPANIES
“Justin Winters was the best assistant warehouse manager The MGC has ever had. He single handedly designed and implemented a JIT inventory program that reduced inventory 23% while improving customer services levels to a record 98.7%. He is well-respected by the 13 employees who report to him and he always motivates highly productive teams.”
Ed Shuman, Senior Buyer (212.555.6012)
“Justin Winters is the ultimate warehouse management professional. As assistant manager for The Midwest Golf Companies, we worked exclusively with him and developed a positive and effective win-win relationship. He negotiated a number of innovative terms and conditions with our company that reduced his organization’s on-hand inventory levels 25% but increased annual sales volume with our company 15%. Justin’s innovative program was so successful, we are now offering it to our customers nationwide. He is creative, resourceful and relentless in meeting his company’s growth and bottom line objectives; and firm but fair in his relations with vendors.”
Susan B. Johnston, Assistant Warehouse Manager (561.555.7279)
SOUTH MICHIGAN GOLF OUTLET
“I would not have the job I have today without the training, supervision and inspiration of Justin Winters. I worked for Justin when I worked for Midwest Golf for 6 years. During that time, he taught me how to be a highly effective leader in warehouse management. So few people ever get the opportunity to learn from a true professional and an authentic human being. I can’t imagine anyone more qualified than Justin to be a warehouse manager in a high volume, growth-driven environment.”
Frank Fordum, Warehouse Manager email@example.com
THE MIDWEST GOLF COMPANIES
“Justin Winters has worked as my assistant warehouse manager for the past 9 years. There is not one aspect of high-volume warehouse operations that he is not proficient at. In fact, it is said that everyone is replaceable – but when Justin left our company, it left a void I am not sure can be filled; not only because of his extraordinary skills, but also because of the intangible attributes he brings to the job – like a smile on his face and a positive attitude every day. He is sorely missed.”
Jay Block is an industry pioneer and the nation’s leading motivational career coach. Jay is a best-selling author of 15 books, including his latest blockbuster: 101 Best Ways To Land a Job in Troubled Times (McGraw-Hill). He has a 20-year record of success for creating and recreating the career management industry. His website is: www.jayblock.com.