The next time an outstanding colleague on your team resigns or your fantastic mentor moves on to another role, think about how you can help them with testimonials. We often think about who will be our references and who can ultimately sing our praises to future employers, but we never think about how beneficial it is to pay it forward.
Many people think of a reference as an afterthought as they’re completing employment applications and need to give three names that can serve as references. But if you take this proactive approach, there are several tactful ways you can be an excellent reference and help former colleagues advance their careers:
1. Offer it up. As you keep in touch with colleagues who no longer work with you, offer to be their references. In turn, they’ll probably offer the same to you, but the key is being proactive and extending a lending hand before they even ask. They may not reach out to capitalize on your kind offer for a while, and that’s OK, too. At least they know your endorsement is available to them.