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Old 09-25-2013, 11:25 AM
 
95 posts, read 346,004 times
Reputation: 109

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Education? Check! Experience? Check! 3 Professional references? Nope!

No references equals no job offers. Don't know if they even check though. Seems like more and more companies ARE checking references and employment history on applicants. Can't get through one online application that does not require 3 references with email and phone numbers.

I am not a stalker and am tired of being told to track down anyone I may have ever worked with to use as a reference. Gee, if people really wanted to stay in touch after 20 years they would have. Any way I look at it I am screwed. Here's an example of what my past looks like:

2004-2013 Community Volunteer (attended school full time to earn AS through MBA)
----Organization 1 (2004-2010) Non-profit organization ( 35 hours a week) where I ran the front office, wrote grant proposals, created the website, handled all accounting. Owner committed fraud, organization closed, owner disappeared.
----Organization 2 (2009-2013) Tutored students for 15 hours a week. Worked directly with 4 teachers. All four teachers have either retired or moved. No personal contact information was ever needed.

2002-2004 Seasonal work at national parks (2 companies). Seasonal means that there are new managers every year. Have reference for job but not professional reference from supervisor.

1992-2002 Retail Management (5 companies). All 5 companies have declared bankruptcy and disappeared. Not franchised stores. No corporate references. No personal references (who really keeps in contact with old bosses from 20 years ago?).

The demand for references is getting really annoying. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:45 AM
 
595 posts, read 2,235,155 times
Reputation: 1213
What about your professors from school? That was who I used as my references when I was looking for a job after a long gap, which included school. Professional doesn't necessarily have to equate only the people you worked with at those jobs.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:52 AM
 
95 posts, read 346,004 times
Reputation: 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by RDH35 View Post
What about your professors from school? That was who I used as my references when I was looking for a job after a long gap, which included school. Professional doesn't necessarily have to equate only the people you worked with at those jobs.

Almost all the applications I fill out require "professional" references from those who know your ability to perform this job (former supervisors, co-workers, etc). Professors can really only provide educational references. My philosophy professor cannot attest to my ability to perform accounting. And my 2 best professors that I used as references for grad school have now left the country. I continued to email them until they moved. They are so lucky though.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:53 AM
 
32,055 posts, read 32,950,797 times
Reputation: 14937
What about people from your social circles?
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,060 posts, read 18,985,577 times
Reputation: 24128
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyHitchhiker View Post
E

2004-2013 Community Volunteer (attended school full time to earn AS through MBA)
----Organization 1 (2004-2010) Non-profit organization ( 35 hours a week) where I ran the front office, wrote grant proposals, created the website, handled all accounting. Owner committed fraud, organization closed, owner disappeared.
----Organization 2 (2009-2013) Tutored students for 15 hours a week. Worked directly with 4 teachers. All four teachers have either retired or moved. No personal contact information was ever needed.
Professors from your schooling. It's not ideal, but it is better than the zero that you have now. And email works when people move out of the country, you know. And as an ex-HR person, I HAVE called overseas to do a reference check.

Organization 1 If it was a bonafide non-profit, there's a board of directors - find one of them. Were there other employees? Find one. How about volunteers at this non profit organization?

Organization 2 You need to find one or two of these people. If they have retired, but not moved, that should not be a problem. Google is your friend.

Last resort - personal references from people who have known you for years. NOT friends. Your accountant, attorney, people you have volunteered with, pastor at your church, etc. etc.

This is a lesson in why networking and keeping in touch is so important. Good luck!
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:00 PM
 
3,083 posts, read 4,654,141 times
Reputation: 3524
I personally think you're making this too hard on yourself. Providing professional references should be, by far, the easiest part of the entire application/interview process. Find anyone you have worked with who will vouch for you. Find anyone in your social circle who will vouch for you.

For the past several interviews that have gotten this far (where they begin checking references), I've mainly used co-workers and indirect superiors. I've never used an immediate supervisor or manager, particularly if they are my current superior.

Once again, I emphasize that this is the easy part. Do not allow it to become a self-fulfilling barrier. Good luck!
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:09 PM
 
1,458 posts, read 2,223,344 times
Reputation: 3108
You are going to find contact information for someone from that longest job. I know it is awkward reaching out to people after years to ask them for help, but you can also offer to be a reference for them, should they need it.

If you can come up with just one genuine reference, you are in better shape to pad a second or third one.
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
8,788 posts, read 13,274,979 times
Reputation: 15907
Just fake them. Get a friend or family a burn phone and they are now past supervisors.
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:29 PM
 
7,368 posts, read 11,539,381 times
Reputation: 8156
If you've been working and in school since 1992 and can't get a single reference, and really don't know how to go about getting one either, I wouldn't really hire you myself.

I'm an extremely sympathetic person, but not being able to get three references from 'somewhere' after 20 years of working experience either shows you are a horrible worker or this thread is a sham.
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:34 PM
 
16,720 posts, read 14,681,103 times
Reputation: 41119
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyHitchhiker View Post
Education? Check! Experience? Check! 3 Professional references? Nope!

No references equals no job offers. Don't know if they even check though. Seems like more and more companies ARE checking references and employment history on applicants. Can't get through one online application that does not require 3 references with email and phone numbers.

I am not a stalker and am tired of being told to track down anyone I may have ever worked with to use as a reference. Gee, if people really wanted to stay in touch after 20 years they would have. Any way I look at it I am screwed. Here's an example of what my past looks like:

2004-2013 Community Volunteer (attended school full time to earn AS through MBA)
----Organization 1 (2004-2010) Non-profit organization ( 35 hours a week) where I ran the front office, wrote grant proposals, created the website, handled all accounting. Owner committed fraud, organization closed, owner disappeared.
----Organization 2 (2009-2013) Tutored students for 15 hours a week. Worked directly with 4 teachers. All four teachers have either retired or moved. No personal contact information was ever needed.

2002-2004 Seasonal work at national parks (2 companies). Seasonal means that there are new managers every year. Have reference for job but not professional reference from supervisor.

1992-2002 Retail Management (5 companies). All 5 companies have declared bankruptcy and disappeared. Not franchised stores. No corporate references. No personal references (who really keeps in contact with old bosses from 20 years ago?).

The demand for references is getting really annoying. Any suggestions?
Suck it up and call people from your last jobs. People understand you need references.
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