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Don't leave this to the last minute:
1. Develop and maintain a list of references for in the Army and out.
2. Tailor the list for the job or type of job you will apply for.
Always ask for permission before using someone as a reference:
1. This is a professional courtesy.
2. Making the person aware helps eliminate surprise, lets them prepare, and allows for a conversation about the job or job interests in general.
When you make the ask:
1. Let them know in person, by phone or via email.
2. Be polite, humble...but be confident and positive.
3. Explain what skills or work you'd like them to accentuate.
4. Allow them an easy out should they be too busy or appear uncomfortable; they may not be the right reference. Have back-ups.
Make sure you give this to your references:
1. A resume tailored to the job announcement you are working on.
2. A copy of the job announcement.
3. Your email and phone should they have questions or want to give feedback later.
Don't just create a list of friends:
1. Different people can discuss your different skill sets.
2. Look across to peers, up to bosses, but look to thought leaders that saw you in motion, being successful (a DASD, Navy Flag, Professor).
3. Consider the background of your reference and if they have experience in the realm you are looking at.
Out of touch - no problem:
1. Try to make nurturing your network a standard practice.
2. Keep references updated on your job search.
3. Pick up the phone and reconnect!
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