Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, August 28, 2015
In general, personal and professional references are important, but not at the beginning of the process. Your resume and networking efforts are most important to initially pique the interest of a potential employer. Once you have their initial interest, your interviewing ability, and then the personal and professional references may help to push you over the top. In other words, ensure your resume is top notch first, and hold the references in your back pocket so at the appropriate time, you can provide them so that hopefully, they differentiate you from the others being considered for the job.