If you have been following along with our blog (or if you have been travel nursing for a while now), you understand that everything operates slightly differently with travel nursing. Gathering references for your resume is no different. There will be some best practices that will apply to you while you are building your reference list, but there are also some important guidelines for travel nurses that are important to consider.
General Tips for a Good Reference
Avoid Using a Relative or Spouse
We know that it may seem counterintuitive not to use the people who know you best as a reference, but even if you work with them, this practice should be avoided. There is an understandable bias that those close to you have and medical facilities and hospitals need references that can be as objective as possible. They will trust your reference more if it is someone outside of your family.
You should never utilize a person as a reference without their permission. You don’t want your reference to feel caught off guard when getting a phone call or refuse/ignore requests to fill out reference forms. We even suggest reminding your references that they may be receiving a call/email from a potential employer.
Have More References than You “Need”
Most employers are only looking for two references. However, having multiple references lined up is always a good idea. Sometimes one or both of your top two references may not respond for a number of reasons. In this situation, it’s good to be prepared with back-up references that you can offer quickly to your recruiters and potential employers.
Reference Guidelines for Travel Nurses
Recruiters and employers alike are looking for particular types of references that meet both general rules and specific requirements related directly to travel nurses. Many times, if your references do not fit these unspoken guidelines, you will be automatically out of the running for the position. We want to make sure you are aware of these preferences so you are not missing out on important opportunities.
Use Lateral Coworkers or Supervisors
Much like spouses or relatives, those who report directly to you are not the most trusted reference. They could also hold bias towards you, but also the power differential here makes the reference less valuable. A reference that you do not have influence/power over is always going to work best as a reference because they have nothing to gain by giving positive feedback.
Use At Least One Supervisor
You will want to make sure that at least one of your references is a supervisor. Do not present only lateral coworkers as references and, if you can, having multiple references in supervisory roles will always benefit you more than having just a coworker. Aiming to have references as high up as possible in your corporation is the best bet.
Choose References from the Last 6 Months
Many times people think of a reference as someone who has known you for a long time and can vouch for your work ethic and character. Medical facilities are looking for the same feedback, but they are much less concerned about the length of time you have known someone and much more interested in what recent supervisors and coworkers have to say about your performance. Travel nurses need to make sure that their references are from the last 6 months of employment and it is preferable to have one that is from your most recent assignment.
Encourage Additional Feedback
Similar to our process, many references are now asked to answer questions regarding your performance. These questions are usually on a scale from 1 to 5 and offer space for additional comments. If you can encourage your reference to offer additional feedback, this is a great way to make sure your resume stands a part from the rest.