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Who Should I Choose As a Job Reference?

Who Should I Choose As a Job Reference?

A job reference is an individual who can discuss your work ethic, performance, skills, etc., to a potential employer. It is someone who knows about your experience, talents, work habits, character, and more. As you apply for a new job, this is an individual whose contact information you place on your resume so potential employers can contact them, ask them questions, and receive a positive picture of who you are and why they should hire you. 

However, the challenge becomes knowing who you should list as a job reference. How do you choose the right person to positively speak about your qualities and expertise? 

Here are a few tips to help. 

Don’t Focus on Job Titles

When choosing a job reference, you don’t want to choose individuals based on their job titles. This will offer you little value. Rather, you want to choose someone who can speak about who you are, the type of work you produce, your ability to work as a team player, etc. 

List a Variety of Individuals

Try to avoid listing references that work in similar capacities. When you do, they are likely to each focus on the same type of skills and experiences, which offers a more limited outlook to a new company. Rather, you want to list individuals who have worked with you in different settings, on different levels, etc. 

For example, by listing a co-worker, they can provide information about how well you work as a team player, your attitude at work, etc. Then, you can list a former supervisor or boss who can offer a viewpoint of your work from a management position. You may also consider someone from your volunteer group who can give an outlook into your personality, your dedication, etc. 

Choose at Least One Work Reference

Many employers are looking for an individual to give them a glimpse into what it is like to work with you. They want to talk to someone who can answer questions about your work ethic, performance levels, etc. This means that ideally, you want to provide at least one work reference. Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be a boss or a manager either. It simply needs to be someone who was in a work-related setting with you and can discuss your performance. 

As you strive to find the best job reference, keep the following things in mind: 

Always make sure you ask the individual’s permission before listing their name. This gives you an opportunity to coach them on the type of experiences, skills, accomplishments that you hope they mention. It also gives them notice that they may be receiving this important phone call or email.

Make sure you provide all contact information. This will make the HR personnel or the recruiter’s job much easier, which will improve your chances of landing the job. 

Think outside of the box. Do you have a former professor who would be a great reference? What about someone from your church congregation? Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when searching for a job reference. 

Provide at least three job references. Some applications will ask for a certain number of individuals. However, if they do not, strive to provide at least three to five references. 

The right job reference can make all the difference and put you near the top of the “will hire” list. However, for you to find success, it is critical that you keep the above items in mind.