Don't Ignore Your References

Job Search

don't ignore your references
Have you wondered why you didn’t get called in for an interview when the job was a perfect fit? Maybe it was because when they contacted your references, something went wrong. Good references are one of your biggest assets in a job search because they are independent witnesses who testify that your skills and work habits are suitable — that you will be a good fit for that job. But since references are real people, things change.

Choose Your References Carefully

The buddy that you party with every weekend is probably not going to be a good reference about your professionalism, right? Think about who will be an authority in your career search; someone who understands the work involved and who has seen how you work. This means supervisors, professors, and those you have served with as a volunteer.
Look at the reference the way an employer would and think about the type of questions that will be asked:

  • How long have they known you?
  • How have they worked with you?
  • What problems have you had in the workplace?

Check With Your References Regularly

Ask your reference first, before you put their name down, as a professional courtesy to them. But even if someone has told you it’s okay to use them as a reference, you need to ask if they will be available when you expect a potential employer to contact them. The professor you worked with as an intern may be out of the country for a few months and unavailable, for instance.
It’s also a good idea to make sure the contact information you list for your references is accurate and current. Queries sent to an unused email address will not help your job prospects, will they? Neither will phone calls that are never answered or wrong numbers. It’s always a good idea to check your references before the employer does so you can verify that they will be available and able to provide the positive reference you need to get that job.

Who Make Good References?


Who Make Good References
Picking your references is a very important part of your resume, yet many people do not take them into proper consideration. Your references are important for potential employers to get an opinion of you from someone other than yourself. This means that the references you choose to put on your resume need to be competent, reliable, respectable, and trustworthy sources who your potential employers will listen to and respect their opinions of you. This also means that you want to pick people who will talk about you in a good way. Below are some ideas that may help you decide who to pick for your references and who to avoid.

  • Teachers/Professors–New Graduates or College Students:  Teachers or professors that you have a good relationship with and who you have done good work for are a great option for references because they get to see your work, but they also can see how you work with other people. However, do not pick teachers that have not seen your academic work. Art and music teachers may have been good friends and teachers, but they do not get to see your writing, computer skills, or other skills that are applicable to your job. This can be ignored if your field of work is applicable to art or music.
  • Direct Supervisors/Managers– Professionals:  Direct supervisors are a good choice to put down for a reference. They are able to see how you work while also being reliable and respectable people due to the nature of your relationship with them. Avoid putting supervisors as references if you have had major difficulties with them.

These are both excellent types of people to put as references. They will give the type of recommendation that you want without being biased due to familial connection or long term friendship.