Reference checking is the final step in the job search process – you are 95 percent through the process, the stakes are high, don’t leave this last critical preparation work to chance. Your resume and the interview demonstrate that you are qualified to perform the job, but your references provide the outside perspective so that the interviewer can decide if you are really worth the risk. Your personal and professional references can make or break you because they are often the deciding factor in whether you get a job offer. Because reference checking is such a critical stage in the job search process, getting references that make you look like a rock star should start early in the job search process.Choose your references wisely: Make a list of people who know you very well who would be effective references across multiple employment opportunities. Prioritize the list by placing the people who can contribute specific information regarding the role you are applying for at the top of the list. Get permission to use your references: Contact the people who you would like to act as a reference to get their permission, and send them your updated resume – never release references’ contact information without contacting them first. When a reference gets advance notice, he is able to prepare more adequately before the call. Provide details to your references on the important points that support the requirements of the position, so they can speak intelligently about your strengths and weaknesses and other aspects of the position. When you contact your references, make sure that you receive complete contact information from them, and how they prefer to be contacted. Connect with them on social media: If you aren’t already connected to your references on social media, connect with them right away because it allows you to keep up with events in their work lives and vice versa, and it’s an excellent way to stay in touch with them. In summary, to get references that make you look like a rock star, choose your references carefully, get their permission, provide details so that they can speak intelligently and honestly about you, and stay in touch. By following this simple process, you will be able to secure the best references for each job that you apply for. This article is contributed by Right Management, www.rightmanagement.sg, the global career experts within the ManpowerGroup.