The Good-Bad Reference Problem

This might be why you didn’t get your dream job.

If you've ever been used as a reference you've probably experienced a version of this. The person was an impressive employee colleague, definitely hard working and successful but when you're asked to provide specific details on how they work or why they were so great you don’t have much or anything specific you can share. So, maybe the person who you love didn’t get the job.

This happens a lot more than you’d think. Good people don’t get the job they should. 

Think of the opposite of this scenario. Your dream job comes up. Before you can even apply, they offer it to you. This happens. 

The problem for many people --especially for teachers, remote workers and other professions who do their work mostly independently is that people don't get a chance to see the details of what you do.

The best way I’ve found to avoid this problem is to (in advance) share evidence of how you do what you do online. Share helpful details of what’s worked for you, so people can see how you think and what you think about. Share your wisdom. Write in a helpful way, rather than a braggy way. It doesn’t have to feel weird. Take a picture of the finished product. Share the checklist you used. Give it away for free.

Post it on LinkedIn. Post it on your blog. Do people still use Pinterest? If they do: Pinterest! Share your little bits of helpful evidence/proof where  people will find it. Don’t hide it. See it as an act of generosity. 

Then when you are applying for a job you can send those links to your references. Or you might just get offered the job without applying --because they already know you. 

I did this and ended up becoming my own boss, doing my perfect-fit work, making more money than I ever did working for someone else. You never know. 

I’d be grateful if you’d share this idea with anyone who you think might benefit from it. 

And if you happen to be looking for a career or business coach, or you have a friend who is, you can of course connect with me here, at 


Tim is available for online Zoom coaching almost every day, to help to make sure you are soon doing the work you are meant to do. He's a fully trained career and business coach and founder, with an MBA and over 20 years of experience. ðŸš€ Click here to get started with Tim. ðŸš€