Reference Letters that Really Mean Something

You made it to the final stage of the sales position interview process – the job offer. Congratulations! But wait…you are not yet ready for your first day in that new sales job. Your offer is pending a successful background screening and reference letters.

Here are some helpful tips to get you closer to your start date:

Provide full disclosure on your job application. This includes: dui, misdemeanor, felony, etc. Blank spaces on applications are a red flag.

Include reference letters, testimonials, or letters of recommendation with your application.

Include college transcripts or proof of college education

When providing references, it may be helpful to include the following:

Former managers (direct reports)

Sales customers or clients that you developed and managed

Project managers/indirect reports that can attest to your abilities and drive

It may be helpful to ask your job references to refer to a specific sales challenge you were able to overcome. I’ve seen a candidate have his job offer rescinded after not fully disclosing he had a misdemeanor several years ago. It wasn’t due to his misdemeanor, but the fact that he was not honest on his application.

Do not provide friends, family, or colleagues as references. In a sales environment, your new manager will want to see references that have first hand knowledge of your sales abilities, are able to share your successes and challenges, see how you work under pressure, and how you overcame obstacles.

Best piece of advice – get job recommendations or testimonials in writing on their company letterhead. This is something you can include in your brag book and will remain with you throughout your entire sales career.