References are very important in the turf industry -- it's relatively small and there is a good chance someone from your work history is connected where you are applying. This is especially true for Assistant Superintendent positions. So why is there continued use of 'References Available Upon Request'? Misinformation, mostly. Here are some suggestions to make the most out of your references.
1. Always send references -- always. As mentioned, there is a good chance this can really help you out with a possible connection. Who is on this list depends on you situation. If you are a Superintendent and don't want your club to know of your application, then of course you would not include references from the club. But this doesn't mean you shouldn't send any. Establish some from other clubs, both peers and golf patrons. You never know the connection that may exist out there. Be sure to mention confidentiality and that you can provide current club references if advanced in the hiring process to a point of requirement. Assistants should always include references from their current club.
2. Diversify your list. In addition to having your current or former boss on the list, you should offer a range of people. Some good examples are below, and they can be current or former employers:
Club Official or Green Chairman
Controller or Accountant
Industry Media or Association Person
All of these point to different and varied skills you may possess. If you are an assistant seeking another assistant position, you should include more superintendent bosses to augment your chances of a connection.
3. Provide direct phone and email contacts. You want to make it very easy for the hiring person to make contact. This means offering the best way of making this connection -- a direct phone number, not an operator line at their employer. A cell phone is great if they will allow it. Same goes for email, make sure it is their main account and check it frequently. Provide only one phone and email contact.
4. Don't provide a mailing address. There is no need to provide a mailing address with today's technology. Just provide the contacts in tip #3.
5. Set up each reference in the same manner in an easy-to-read format. Here is an examp
Example Golf Club
Golf Course Superintendent
(The email address can/should be hyperlinked so the reader can simply click on it to send an email. In Word, highlight the text and click Insert/Hyperlink.)
6. Create multiple columns if more than five references are included. Adding a second column midway across the page enhances layout and legibility. You definitely want to fit all your references on one page. If you have a two-page resume, I would encourage you to try to fit the references on the second page of that resume if possible.
A final tip for your personal website or portfolio -- include text testimonials from your references. This is a great way to offer endorsements without actually having to make the hiring person make direct contact at the beginning of the process. There are key points to cover here and I will offer more details on this in a later article.