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Preparing Job References: Why It’s Important to Have the RIGHT People Advocating for You

When you apply for a new job, you will need references. A good reference can convince a potential employer that you are worth hiring. You must select the right people for job references because they can make or break your chances of landing a job. The best people to pick for a job reference should:

  • Know your work ethic
  • Be well-spoken
  • Respect you
  • Agree to be a reference

You want people who have worked alongside you and think highly of you. However, do not include relatives and close personal friends. Think about it and pick the right people to advocate for you.

Why Is Having the Right References Important?

A reference gives a hiring manager a more personal depiction of you than a resume can provide. You probably have a terrific resume, but managers often want a closer look. Talk to people who work with you and know your working habits.

You might encounter an employer who specifies a certain number of references. These managers want to learn everything they can about you to ensure you are the correct person to hire for the job. You can expect three references: full name, phone number, and email address.

Determine Who to Use As a Reference

You can follow the steps that outline how to use a reference when applying for a new job:

  • Determine the type of role you are seeking. What are you interested in doing? Your selection will dictate the references that will have the most significant impact. Manage your reference list like you tailor your resume for each opportunity.
  • Consider who you know at the company. Do you have a connection with anyone who is a current or former employee of your company of interest? Remember that organizations tend to trust the opinions of internal employees more than outsiders. Knowing someone can be a competitive edge for you. Reach out to the potential reference by email and ask if they will serve as a reference.
  • Try to find a connection between your network and someone who works at the company. What if you do not know anyone at the company? Your network connections might be the answer. Reach out to your network and find out if they have any connections with the company. Who knows, they might have friends who work there.
  • Consider the length of your relationship with the individual. Take the time to reflect on how long you have known a potential reference. Those with whom you share a lengthy relationship provide better job performance feedback.
  • Think about what they might say about you. After you create your reference list, consider what each individual might say about you. Some references might have better information regarding your skills than others. Study your list and understand what each contact might bring to your application.

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