There will be a lot of value to have up to ten references showing on your LinkedIn profile. Right now, it’s good enough for transactions and contracts, and doggone it, good enough for permanent hiring. Five well-written, detailed recommendations or more will increase interest in you if you don’t have that many now.
Hiring could be quicker.
Hiring would be efficient.
Hiring would take a common-sense approach. Well, maybe.
We can debate what’s permanent hiring will look like later. Let’s say employment with benefits.
Consider the person who wrote the recommendation:
The references credentials as a direct boss
Maybe they wrote it as a mentor or sponsor.
If they worked closely as a teammate
If they can speak to skill, character, or was providing fluff
If they are exchanging recommendations (there’s good and not so good)
The employer interested in interviewing and hiring you may have standard connections with your reference(s). Forget six degrees of separation as relevant for employment sake. Second connections and weak ties will be more significant than ever. They’ve been notable for a while, but a deeper dive will occur once employers realize recommendations don’t grow on trees.
It will be worth going back and connecting with your reference long before needing them or realize they no longer have relevance as a reference. In other words, the supervisor who permitted you to do projects on Lotus in 1992 is not helpful to the employer who needs an Excel ninja. The social media director who allowed you to master Google Plus in 2014 will not serve you in 2020.
I was not arguing oxford commas in 2020. I’m claiming a refresh on your references from the last five years will matter more than 15 or more years ago. We can argue depending on the position’s market, C-Suite or mid-professional, there are no broad strokes. What you’ve accomplished in the last year to three years will matter more.
Your references should change. Your relationship building is a necessary strategy as a job search is a lifestyle. Your knowledge and skills applied with various degrees of difficulty matter. Your ability to demonstrate it in front of employers and embody the articulation of its value shines more as someone witnesses it rather than you bragging about it.
A good example is how you have repositioned your skills to increase its values during the pandemic and work remotely. If you have bosses and former bosses who can positively speak to how quickly and adeptly you adapted to the completion of work in this time of a worldwide crisis is something employers will want to see. Resilience and perseverance always have value, no matter the job.
An employer or recruiter may also check the validity or substance of the person recommending you. In fact, with the current reference check process, they could do that. I told a story where a former client was disqualified as a job candidate during a reference check. Although this happens more often than most people think, this should give you more reasons to keep relevant references as part of your tools to close the deal, secure your reputation, and give employers great reasons to hire you as a valuable asset.