Author Topic: Resumes: Resume References  (Read 5570 times)

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Idleuphoria

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Resumes: Resume References
« on: Aug 15, 2006, 11:41 pm »
Hello all, 

I am trying to put together a resume of my theatre experience for college, and I was wondering, who do you use as a reference? also, do you have to ask before you put them on your resume as references? and if you have letters of reference, do you put the people who wrote them in the references section? any help I could get on this matter would be awesome. Thanks!
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 12:48 pm by PSMKay »

Mac Calder

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Re: Resume References
« Reply #1 on: Aug 16, 2006, 02:56 am »
Never list a reference without getting permission from the referee. There is nothing worse than calling a referee and having them go "Huh? Who?" or feeling put on the spot. It is a negative reflection.

The ideal SM referee would probably be the director. However the strength of a reference depends on the persons credibility. A relatively new director may not be the best option if you have a well know leading actor or a well known technical director. If you are providing 4 references, I would probably get 2 directors, 1 technical director and either an actor or a crew member. That probably covers each base quite well. Try and spread them out over a few shows too.

I like to list written references on the resume, usually I put something along the lines of

Code: [Select]
Miss A Smith
Stage Manager
Some Company
Reference Attatched

« Last Edit: Aug 16, 2006, 02:59 am by Mac Calder »

nmno

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Re: Resume References
« Reply #2 on: Aug 16, 2006, 03:22 am »
I list a director, a production manager and 2 Stage managers I worked under.  Although, I do sometimes change it up, change people out depending on the gig.  I've tried to give it a bit of balence as well so not ALL of my references are coming from the same theatre.  On my resume, I list the people and their position and then say "contact information available on request" (there has been much discussion on the site about this issue so do a search). 
And oh my god, yes, please contact a person first before listing them as a reference.  (I've been on the receiving end of that and it's really awkward - even if I think you are fabulous, I want to have a heads-up so I can be ready to shine the best light on you.)  Find out how what number you should list - office phone, home phone, cell phone, email?  If I'm sending out a resume (especially a mass mailing) I like to reconfirm with my references that I still list them - maybe it's a bad time for them, they're out of town, they forgot that they gave permission in the first place, they've changed phone numbers, etc.

stagemonkey

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Re: Resume References
« Reply #3 on: Aug 16, 2006, 12:20 pm »
Always check with the peopel you are using as a reference.  I also suggest being careful how you ask them too.  If you ask someone "Can I put you down as a refernce on my resume?" they can easily be like "yeah sure" however this person could have hated the work you did with them and if contacted they will say many bad things about you.  In this case they agreed that you can put them down as a reference but thats all they did.  So I would suggest being straight forward about it.  Either start out or follow up the previous question with something like "If I listed you as a reference would you give me a good recommendation?"  This asks them straight out if they will be a good reference to put down.  If they say yes then your set if they say no you can look for others for good references, you can also ask further questions as to why they wouldn't give you a good recomendation and use it as constructive criticism as maybe there are some things you need to work on, sure it might hurt to hear but in the long run it would be useful.

On my resume I list a Director, a Technical Director, and a Production Manger.  As you do more and more work (I have been told) it is important to use references from different places.  Its better to list people from different theatres instead of 3 people from the same place.  This helps to show that you have worked with more than one set group of people and can do good work all around and not just with a defined set of people.

nmno

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Re: Resume References
« Reply #4 on: Aug 16, 2006, 02:49 pm »
if contacted they will say many bad things about you. 
Just a little 2 cents from my previous life working in HR...  If YOU are asked to give a reference for someone and you don't think you can be glowing, you should decline.  You should NOT ever give negative information about an applicant; if they don't get the job, they in theory could sue you for libel.  Even if what you said is true! Your only defense is if you have documentation of disciplinary action, signed by the person, and even then the idea is "if you don't have anything nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all."  My old HR boss refused to give a reference for anyone other than to acknowledge that they did in fact work at said position thru said dates.  Others have been known to give a "reference" along the lines of "He didn't show up to work drunk" - technically true and not damning, but not exactly glowing - but universally understood as "don't hire".

It's a tricky thing.  Your reputation is on the line as well, so you don't want to give a good rec for someone not up to the task (conversely, the employer could sue YOU if you gave a great recommendation for someone but neglected to mention that they have been repeatedly written up for tardiness...  they might not win, but it's time and money). 

Not likely that a stage manager has the money/resources/time to pursue such a suit but if they were that bad that you said something negative to a prospective employer, who knows?

Idleuphoria

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Re: Resume References
« Reply #5 on: Aug 17, 2006, 12:32 am »
thank you all so much for your input, it has helped me a lot.

BeckyGG

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Re: Resume References
« Reply #6 on: Aug 17, 2006, 09:38 am »
In general I ask every director/stage manager I work with if they will be a reference for me.  While most of them do not end up directly on the reference page they are still listed on my resume.  I find most people don't call the designated references if they are familiar with other names on the resume. 

And most people I know have told me about instances where they have told people specifically not to use them as references. 
CHAOS: Where Brilliant Dreams Are Born
Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be Chaos
Before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish to the crowd.

ljh007

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Re: Resume References
« Reply #7 on: Aug 17, 2006, 03:01 pm »
I keep a master list of references in a computer file and pick and choose based on which job I'm applying for today. Is it another SM gig? I list directors, artistic directors, peer SMs, and maybe senior designers/stagehands/wardrobe if they're notable, well-spoken, and know me well. Is it an office job? I list other theatrical staff, Trustees, former bosses in general, and anyone else who will speak about my professional skills. You should also have a cross-section of supervisors and peers in your references. This helps the company see that you do excellent work for your bosses but also that you're pleasant to work alongside.

Then, before I send the references to the hiring company, I contact my references to give them a heads-up. This is a wonderful chance for you to tell your reference why you think you'd be perfect for this job. This gives them an understanding of your goals and helps them say just the right things when the interviewer calls. If you get a particularly great job, write your references a short note thanking them for their help and support. This goes a long way!

I also do something a little different with my references - they're on a separate sheet of paper and formatted like this:
Joe Smith
Artistic Director
Company
Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX (office)
Email: joesmith@h0tmail.com
Mr. Smith is a favorite local director and promoter in the City arts scene. He has led Company Name for over 12 years. Mr. Smith worked with Lauren when she stage managed the successful 25th Anniversary season (2004-2005) with Company Name.

This is unusual - but it works very well for me. But it lets the interviewer know something about your reference so that they have some awareness when they call. I include my sheet of references with my resume if I know references will be needed. If they ask for references later, I can email or mail this sheet. I can't stand wasting space on my resume with the references. And I don't like seeing "references available upon request" - because of course references should always be available upon request! I've shown this sheet to many employers and even to my references (so they know how they are described), and they all agree that it's a useful, thoughtful way to present references. It works for me!

stagemonkey

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Re: Resume References
« Reply #8 on: Aug 17, 2006, 04:04 pm »
See I've always heard that you dont want to have your resume more than 1 page long and if you include a second sheet with references it is looked down on, basically cause you are giving those that hire more paper work to keep track of.  So I'd love to hear more thoughts on how to include references on a resume in terms of if you put them at the bottom of the page, on the back, say references available upon request, or another sheet altogether like ljh007 said.

KC_SM_0807

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Re: Resume References
« Reply #9 on: Aug 17, 2006, 05:41 pm »
I condensed my resume as much as possible so that I could include my references and everything else on one page.  There is another thread in here somewhere about the whole 1 versus 2 page resume, so you can check that out to get more opinions.  I personally like to keep mine to one page.  Also, remember that you don't have to list every single show you've done on your resume.  List the ones that you feel are most important, or the jobs where you worked with the most prestigious directors, companies, etc.  This could help you save space and get all your references and other information on one page.

You mentioned that you are putting a resume together for college.  Since I'm assuming that you are in high school, I don't know how much work you have done outside of your school.  I would list anyone that you've worked under, directors you've stage managed for, even your theatre teacher perhaps.  You may not have worked under another stage manager yet, so you have to use all the references that you can.  Keep the references on your resume to a minimum, maybe 2-3, and then if you have others you can put a note saying Other References Upon Request.  I have three references on my resume, and then at the bottom mine says Other References and Prompt Book Samples available upon request.  It's up to you whether or not you want to do this.

As Mac mentioned, make sure that you ask your references before you even think about putting them down on your resume. 

Best of Luck!
"Perhaps, therefore, Stage Managers not only need to be calm and meticulous professionals who know their craft, but masochists who feel pride in rising above impossible odds."

Rebbe

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Re: Resume References
« Reply #10 on: Aug 17, 2006, 08:45 pm »
My references consist of stage managers I’ve ASM’ed for, Production Managers, Directors, and supervisors from non-theater work.  I do basically the same thing as ljh007.  My resume is one page long, and I have a separate page listing references (usually 3, maybe 4) whom I choose based on the position I’m applying for (though I don’t give descriptors other than their title).   As others have said, I think it’s important to offer references from more than one company, and who worked with you in a variety of capacities.

You should absolutely ask before listing someone as a reference; I had someone list me without my permission, in an application to a theater I was working for at the time.  When my colleagues told me the position he had applied for and asked me what I thought, I was honest and said he would not be a good fit for that job.  If this guy had asked me whether or not he could use my name, I probably would have said he could only on a case by case basis (he was a decent sound op, but I wasn’t willing to vouch for him on other positions). His not asking first made him look worse than the fact that I didn’t recommend him for the job.

Most of my references have given me the OK to use their names whenever I’d like, but I still at least send them an email letting them know what I’m applying for, and how what they know about me or my skills applies to the position. 

I rarely see jobs requesting letters of reference (outside of internships or apprenticeships).  But if you have someone who was willing to write you a letter, chances are they’d be willing to get a phone call about you as well.  Just ask before you use their name that way.
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

BeckyGG

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Re: Resume References
« Reply #11 on: Aug 17, 2006, 11:52 pm »
See I've always heard that you dont want to have your resume more than 1 page long and if you include a second sheet with references it is looked down on, basically cause you are giving those that hire more paper work to keep track of.  So I'd love to hear more thoughts on how to include references on a resume in terms of if you put them at the bottom of the page, on the back, say references available upon request, or another sheet altogether like ljh007 said.

My resume is one page front and back...references and only references are on the back so it's not the end of the world if that portion doesn't get looked at.  At the bottom of the front page in big bold letters it says REFERENCES ON REVERSE SIDE.  This way I can make the most of the information on my resume as well as providing them with references.  Making them ask for references adds an additional step for the one doing the hiring. 

Essentially people will tell you pros and cons for any way.  What it boils down to is what makes you happy and what you are comfortable with.  If you ask 5 people you will get 6 different ways to format your resume.
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Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be Chaos
Before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish to the crowd.

ljh007

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Re: Resume Letters of Reference
« Reply #12 on: Aug 18, 2006, 07:53 am »
One quick thing about letters of reference:
The traditional way to handle letters is to have your reference send you a few (maybe three+) in SEALED envelopes with the return address only. This way, you cannot read the letter, but you can address it and send it out when requested by a company. In theory, you should never know what your references write for you. The downside of this is that the letters have an "expiration date" if the date of the sealed letter becomes more than, say, two years old.

I don't know of many people who do it this way anymore. In fact, I've heard of references and referees collaborating on letters, or the reference signing off on a letter the referee writes. I do think that that's going too far. But I guess if you really want to see the letter of reference, there's nothing wrong with a peek (but no meddling!). I believe that letters of reference are becoming obsolete - even hirers prefer to make a quick and frank phone call, rather than wade through just-another-lovey-reference-letter. I have one email letter of reference ready to forward (of course, I can read this one), and a few sealed letters that are years old and should probably be thrown away. Mostly, my references operate via phone.

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