As a serious job seeker, you may have encountered plenty of job applications that ask you to provide a few references. This often stumps some job seekers, because they are not entirely sure whom they should list here. On the one hand, not providing a reference could cause you to not get considered for the job; on the other hand, providing the wrong references could cause you to not look favorable to a recruiter. How do you decide whom to use as career references?
There are a few ways to determine the best people to include as references, when searching for work. Read on to learn how to pick the right references that will impress a potential employer.
Think About Your Career History
Before you start listing all your best college buddies as references, consider if any of these people have ever actually been part of your work history. If not, then they don’t belong on your reference list. Instead, your references should be people you’ve worked with in the past. They can be former co-workers, clients, and mentors.
Choose Credible References
Another factor to consider when providing references as a job seeker is how credible they are. Think about courtrooms and when lawyers pick a witness they go for people who are viewed as believable. Former college professors, members of public office, religious leaders, doctors, and business owners are often great references because what they say about you holds more weight.
Make Sure References are Reliable
The last thing you need are references who are difficult to get in touch with, or whom do not care about your career success by responding to an inquiry. You also don’t want a reference who says odd things about you to a recruiter. Instead, choose people who are reliable and care about you enough to be good references.
Get Those Reference Letters
While you still may need to have a few people listed as references, you can save yourself the time and worry about waiting for the recruiter to call everyone by providing written reference letters. If you can get the letters before you leave a job, that’s good, or you can simply reach out by phone and ask for one later on.
Use Your Recommendations on LinkedIn
A more modern way to determine who would be good to list as a reference is to choose some people on your LinkedIn profile who have recommended you with written testimonials. Reach out to some former colleagues or your professional networks and get some if you don’t already have a few recommendations.
If you are still struggling with knowing whom to use as a job reference, consider anyone who you know that works at the company you are applying to now. Then put them down as a reference.