I remember the first recommendation an editor wrote for me. It was glowing. It was wonderful. It told editors they would be idiots not to hire me.
• Cultivate relationships. "Try to find out what (former colleagues) will say about you. Talk to them about the job description and how you're qualified for the job," he says. "Make sure you always check in with your most recent supervisor."
• Google yourself. Do you see anything that can be perceived as damaging?
If someone has written something negative about you online, try to reason with the person about why you need it removed.
"Tell them their off-the-cuff remarks are hurting you. If they won't listen, tell them you may take legal action if they don't rescind them," he says.
• Confront vindictive sources. Shane says his company has sent a number of cease-and-desist letters to people providing negative references about someone, and in all those cases the people have stopped making the comments.
Since company policy forbids many to reveal more than employment dates, they realize they're violating the rules and could lose their jobs, he says.
"My final advice is to never assume anything. References are key, so be proactive and do your due diligence. Find out what people are saying about you," he says.
How would you react if you knew someone gave you a bad recommendation?