If a man is called to be a streetsweeper,
he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.
He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts
of heaven and earth will pause to say,
here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.
—Martin Luther King
References are often ignored until late in the job search. "I'll get to it when they ask for them, but right now I have more important things to do." Yet properly used, references can be an effective tool toward making your job search even more productive. Having them prepared in advance speeds up the final steps of the job search process. Used properly, they can also give your job search a much needed jump start at the beginning.