The 101 on Job References


As a job seeker, you know that putting together a solid resume and cover letter is just the beginning of the job search process. When it comes time for the hiring manager to make their final decision, they may want to speak with your job references to get a better sense of your work experience and capabilities. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why candidates should always have job references ready, who to ask, and what makes a good job reference. 

Why Candidates Should Always Have Job References Ready 

First things first: yes, candidates should always have job references ready. Even if the job application doesn’t explicitly ask for references, it’s always a good idea to have them prepared. If the hiring manager decides they want to speak with your references, you’ll want to be ready to provide them quickly and easily. 

Who to Ask for a Job Reference 

When selecting who to ask for a job reference, it’s important to choose people who know you and your work well. This can include former managers, colleagues, or clients who you’ve worked with closely. Avoid asking friends or family members to serve as references, as they may not be seen as objective or credible. 

What Makes a Good Job Reference 

So, what makes a good job reference? Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Choose someone who can speak to your skills and work experience. Your reference should be able to talk about specific projects you’ve worked on and the results you’ve achieved. 
  • Look for someone who is credible and respected in your industry. If the hiring manager recognizes your reference as a reputable expert in your field, they’ll be more likely to take their opinion seriously. 
  • Make sure your reference is willing and able to provide a reference. Before including someone as a reference, ask if they’re comfortable serving in that role and if they have the time and availability to respond to requests. 

How to Prepare Your Job References 

Now that you know who to ask and what makes a good job reference, it’s time to prepare them. Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 

  • Ask permission before including someone as a reference. This gives your reference time to prepare and ensures they’re comfortable serving in that role. 
  • Provide your reference with a copy of your resume and cover letter. This can help them understand your background and what you’re looking for in a job. 
  • Follow up with your reference after an interview to let them know how it went. This helps maintain your relationship with your reference and keeps them engaged in your job search. 

Candidates should always have job references ready, even if they’re not explicitly asked for. When selecting references, choose people who know you and your work well and can speak to your skills and experience. Make sure your references are willing and able to serve as a reference, and provide them with the information they need to speak to your strengths. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful job search. 

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