The old adage “it ain’t what you know it’s who you know” still has a lot of truth to it.  Sometimes this old phrase was stated in a derogatory light by people upset that they did not get a job or an advancement because someone else had “a connection”, and the disappointment is understandable.  However, my answer to that is get you own dang connections, and many times these are synonymous with your References.

The Importance of Good References: A Transportation and Logistics Recruiter’s Perspective

As a transportation and logistics recruiter, I can’t stress enough how important good references are.  They can make or break you in the final stages of the job offer process.  I have had Transportation and Logistics candidates who “closed the deal” with a great reference check (this is where either the client or myself actually picks up the phone and talks to the reference about you….can be very enlightening!) and a few who have been rejected because something came out in the reference check that gave me and/or the client reason to pause and rethink.

Advice for a Transportation Candidate

As a Transportation Candidate looking for a Transportation and Logistics job you absolutely should use your Transportation contacts as good references.  A Manager or Owner you have known for a long time or a favorite customer, co-worker or peer are great references.

Here are some practical tips you should use on your references:

  • You should have at least 4 references, I prefer 5 or 6. I am almost never interested in “personal” references.  Everyone knows that Aunt Ethel loves you and thinks you should be running the company, so her reference is not real helpful.
  • Ideally references should be people you have worked for, worked with (like a peer or colleague) or someone who has worked for you (these have been some of the most powerful, as a company loves to know what someone who worked for you thought of you).
  • When you are in Job Search mode and actively interviewing, you absolutely must reach out to your references and let them know they may be getting a call. You never want them to be “blind-sided” or sound confused when they pick up the phone.
  • I like to see references at the end of a resume, to me it says “Hey, I am comfortable and confident in these references, you don’t have to ask, here they are!”. However, if you prefer to have a separate document, that is fine, just always have if available to immediately email or hand across the table in an interview situation.  You never want to say something like “oh, yeah I can get those together and send them over”.

References are a very powerful tool and often don’t get the attention they deserve.  When I have a candidate who offers solid references from the 3 companies they have worked for in their career, I intuitively know that they have had a good track record and those References should confirm it!

If you are a Transportation and Logistics Pro, or if this is the area you are interested in working and have questions, please connect with me on LinkedIn and I am happy to help if I can: