Who should you use as a reference?
When it comes to finding a job, thinking of who you can use as a reference can be quite difficult. After spending so much time working on your resume and practicing for prospective interviews, the last thing you want is to be let down by the people who are providing references for you. We’ve put together a guide to help you choose the best referees for your resume.
Think about who you might want as a reference
Though you might imagine you are limited in who could write you a reference, there are a surprising number of people that you talk with who are ideal choices. Some companies ask for a character reference as well as employment reference. It is always best to have at least three or four different people to act as references for you.
The ideal is to have a mixture of different referees who know you in different capacities. For example, you might want to ask a former supervisor or colleague to provide you with an employment reference, a coach from the sports team you play for at the weekend to provide a reference, a friend with community standing to provide a character reference (a police officer, a member of a council, a religious leader) and a reference from a project that you have volunteered for.
These are just ideas of how many different people you could list as references and each would be able to give a different account of you, your skills and whether they think you are suitable for the job. Because the referees are so varied, the picture an employer can form of you is much more complete than if you simply get previous employers to provide you with a generic reference letter.
Ask people before you use them as a reference
It’s common courtesy and seems like a rather simply step, but you should always ask people whether they would mind providing you with a reference before putting their name down. Most people are more than happy to do so, but some will decline and you shouldn’t push them to justify not wanting to provide you with a reference either.
Make sure you have complete details for your references
Once people have agreed to provide you with references, you will need to gather full details to provide to any prospective employer. These details should include:
- Full name of the referee
- Their current title
- Company they work for
- the business address
- Daytime telephone number
- cell phone
- Any times that the referee will be unavailable or a preference for contact.
If someone providing you with a reference has a visual impairment they may prefer to provide a verbal reference. If your referee has a hearing impairment, they may prefer to only be contacted via email. These are things you should take into consideration when collecting details for your reference.
Tell your referees about the job you’ve applied for
Make sure that you have given your referees a copy of your current resume and that they know a little about the job you are applying for. This way they can help to provide you with a reference that is relevant to your skills, the skills that the employer is looking for and all without it looking like you have asked them to give you a glowing report.
Make sure that you thank the people who have provided you with references, even if they haven’t been approached by the employer on your behalf, they have offered to help you without any gain for them and they may have been the tipping point in getting you that job you were after.