Job Seekers: Don't Play 'Trust Fall' Game with Your References (I Mean It!)
By J.T. O'Donnell I read this post by a colleague, Heather Huhman, over at her blog today where she had it out with an angry job seeker who thought references don't mean anything. (Ironically, his nasty attitude explains why he most likely hasn't been hired.) AND, earlier in the week, another colleague, Alison Green, wrote about the 4 biggest myths about job references on her blog. Like Heather and Alison, I am regularly asked whether references make a difference. Simple answer: YES! References get checked all the time (read Heather's post to hear a first-hand account of a reference check gone bad). So, if you haven't made 200% sure the references you are listing for potential employers are: A) willing to be a reference. AND, B) going to say good things about you. Then, you are risking losing the job offer. Do you really want to go through the hassle of finding a job (apply, interview, etc.) only to get nixed in the end by a weak reference? Analogy to Drive My Point Home...The Trust Fall Not having good references is like playing that trust fall game where you are blindfolded and expected to tip backwards into a group of people's arms. HOWEVER, imagine you don't how many people are there or if they are even willing to put their hands out. Would you risk it? I doubt it! When it comes down to the final phase of the hiring process, you must make sure your references are strong and in position to react positively when they get the call from a potential employer. Heather even founded a company to help people with their references called, Come Recommended. Here are her two golden rules when it comes to references: Rule #1: Ask your intended references if they would be willing to serve as your references. Rule #2: Ask your intended references what they would say about you if called by a hiring manager. You don’t want any surprises! Now is not the time to risk losing out on a great opportunity over something you have control over. I hope this post proves that referencs do matter!
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Weird Advice For Young Designers
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I recently worked on a pro bono project for a friend, and it reminded me of a time early in my career and how lucky I was then to get such great advice from the more seasoned pros around me. Advice that ultimately saved me from some major pitfalls. I made mistakes here and there over the course of nearly 20 years of projects, but with each hiccup came a lesson. Here are some takeaways from my lessons learned and all that sage advice.

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