I wonder if anyone is also having this experience.... Having been downsized a couple of times, people who were your bosses, team members and customers (internal and external) just vanish.

Some of them, you try to keep in contact with, but they don't see the value of building a network. Others, they moved, moved on, retired, changed their names (married, divorced), moved to another field etc. Many of them don't even pop up in a google search (lucky them!)

So despite one's best efforts, the reference list is not bursting with professionals anymore, just lots of personal and community references.

How do you deal with this when being asked for references in the job search?


HMac's picture

*** - that's a great dilemma to surface and I'm looking forward to what others have to say. In the meantime, here's what I've done:

First, I try to limit my references to my three most recent jobs. That covers almost 10 years for me. My reasoning: there's a point of time where things get far less relevant, either because my career has changed, or my skills have improved (hopefully!), or I've matured (really hopefully!!) The upside is that I've narrowed my reference need a bit, and I can really think about these last three jobs.

Next, I ask myself "Who do I know who can provide an accurate picture of some of the accomplishments I've put on my resume for that job?" And I ratchet through:

Boss' Boss
Other key executives at my company
HR (for confirming title and employment data only)

[b][i]Next Best:[/i][/b]

[i][b]Less Best:[/b][/i]
Peers, colleagues

[i][b]Least Best:[/b][/i]

So the place to start is with the [i]accomplishments described on your resume[/i]: who can vouch for them?

TomW's picture
Training Badge

I tend to think of references in a manner similar to turnover of employees.

You are often losing old ones as you gain new ones. My boss from 1998 might not be available anymore, while there are a few department heads at my current company who are frustrated with recent events, each of whom agreed to be a reference for each other.

I would think that as long as you are constantly building new contacts, losing older ones would not be such an issue.

asteriskrntt1's picture

I build contacts as well as anyone - probably 3200 in my Outlook and counting. That doesn't make necessarily make them able to be a reference.

When I was downsized, we had 3200 employees in head office. Roughly 2200 of the final number of 2500 were released in a three week span. It was bad. My next job, it was me, the owner of the company and a bunch of tech contractors I never met but occassionally emailed.

Such is the way of employees these days - we are consumables, just like Bic razors and printer cartridges.

jhack's picture

I can't imagine trying to keep track of 3200 contacts. And we should have stayed in touch with folks who are likely to be references, and yet lots of us didn't

So what now?

Google. LinkedIn. Facebook. Good old fashioned networking: "remember so and so, whatever happened to her?" People Finder services (they are impressive - much free, and some for fee).

People die, or move to cabins in the woods, but most of your contacts are still out there in the world of work. They can be located.