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How important are references as a fresh graduate?

Question :

Hi Careerdoc,

I am a fresh graduate feeling very anxious about job hunting. I've been putting off actually applying to jobs because of the lack of references on my resume. While I've done several internships, I've done a rather poor job of keeping in touch.

Will the lack of references have a huge impact on my applications?

Posted by Janie on Wednesday, 02 Jan 2013

Comments :


Posted Tuesday 8th January 2013 02:42:00 AM


Dear Sidney, Thank you so much for your encouraging response. I will definitely keep trying!

Sidney Yuen - Career Doctor

Posted Thursday 3rd January 2013 07:25:00 PM


Dear Janie I can feel your frustration due to the lack of response from potential employers, assuming this may be due to a lack of references on the resume. But before we jump to this conclusion, let us examine what may also cause this. First of all, employers look for the following in resumes submitted: 1. What is his/her academic achievement? In some cases, which college did he/she attend? 2. Does he/she have the competencies that we are looking for? 3. Is the profile likely to be successful in the organization? 4. Was the letter of application well written? 5. Where did he/she work before and what did the previous employers say about the candidate? If you examine the above questions and answer them to the satisfaction of the employer, you will stand a much better chance of being granted an interview. Every organization has a unique culture and they tend to attract employees who will enjoy working in that company culture. For example, if they like people to be more socially responsible, they tend to look for candidates who have passion in helping the needy. In other words, are you fitting in? How do you stand out from hundreds of application letters received by your potential employer? Did you achieve clarity, brevity and simplicity in your letter? During your internship, did you learn something that would be useful for the job that you have applied for? It is never too late to ask for references provided that you did a good job while you were there. For some organizations, where did you study and how did you do in your grades is an important factor. All these add up to improving the chance of being interviewed. My advice to you is to keep trying and to get better. How about sending them a three minute video clip to express your desire and why they should hire you, this would definitely make an impression. Good or bad it would depend on what and how you present yourself. I would like to share with you one of my favorite quotes of a famous motivational guru, Dale Carnegie: "Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success". I wish you the best of luck to land your dream job soon.

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