Never Fake Your References

Now this is something that I don’t want to catch ANYONE doing. I read an article on CNN the other day called Should you fake your job references? It talks about a company called CareerExcuse.com, which specializes in faked references. To me, faking a reference is as low a point as you can get in your job hunt.

Apparently, this company goes to great lengths to ensure that these faked references aren’t uncovered. The article says that, for a fee, the company…

…will fill any gap on your résumé by acting as your past employer. It will go as far as creating a new company with an accompanying phone number, logo, Web site and LinkedIn profile.

This turns my stomach. I find services like this one to be on the same level as degree mills. This just makes things harder for everyone, including employers and honest candidates.

And if you are so desperate that you are tempted by these types of services, remember that if you are caught, not only will you be fired for lying, but you may also be blacklisted in your industry. Is this a risk you are willing to take?

Leave these services alone and get a job the honest way.

Why References Still Matter

There has been some debate recently about whether or not candidate references matter. In fact, a recent article on CNN called Do references really matter? explores this issue.

One quote from this piece caught my eye:

Harsh [an employer] agrees that when he receives a resume with references attached, he gives them virtually no weight.

Honestly, I don’t blame him. Today’s resume references are no more likely to turn up negative information than if you called the candidate’s mother directly. No job hunter is going to willingly provide a bad reference, it just doesn’t make sense.

Regardless, I still believe that references have their place. I have three reasons for this:

  1. Everyone else is going to provide a reference when asked. Regardless of whether you agree that references are useful, you need to have them in order to be at the level of other candidates. Sad, but true.
  2. Finding and contacting references also provides you with valuable networking experience. You never know when these references may be able to help you down the line.
  3. Finally, it allows you to find out directly whether or not your references will support you in your job search. Believe it or not, “non-positive” references are not uncommon.

So take the time to go through your references. It will be beneficial in the long run.