By Eileen AJ Connelly -- AP Personal Finance Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Read a few job-hunting blogs, and you might be convinced your references could undermine any chance you have for getting hired without intensive input from you.
Making sure you have the right references and keeping them informed of your job-hunting progress is certainly a necessity. But even in this ultracompetitive job market, experienced pros say it's equally important to avoid badgering busy people who have agreed to do a favor. Heavy-handed efforts to coach them or put words into their mouths could backfire.
If someone spelled out what he should say during a reference check, for instance, Don Straits, CEO of executive career services firm Corporate Warriors, would reconsider offering the reference. "I do not recommend you try to feed them information as to what they're supposed to say," he said.
That's just one of the tips culled from various online sources that our pros guide against. Here are a few other potentially misleading tips, and the alternative advice they suggest:
Tip #1: Find out what your references will say to make sure it's all positive.
The problem: People who agree to help you shouldn't be put on the spot.
A better move: Choose your references carefully, and make sure they are people you know well and trust to support your job search effort. "If they aren't excited to be your reference, then don't list them," said Tyra Tutor, senior vice president at MPS Group, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based staffing and consulting company. "You get to pick these people, so pick wisely."
The strategy: Your references need to be familiar with your work habits and accomplishments, but you can choose people from various aspects of your life. Consider going beyond former co-workers and asking vendors, clients, colleagues from professional organizations or even fellow volunteers, as long as they can speak to your strong points. "If you knew the person only peripherally, that's how they're going to speak about you," said Peter Post, director of The Emily Post Institute and an expert on business etiquette.