In the rush to prepare your resume for the job search you may forget about an important step: Finding references. Most employers ask for references these days, so you don’t want to make this an afterthought. When combined with your resume and the interview process, the references you choose will have a direct impact on your job search. How can you find the right references as you apply for your next job?

How to Find the Right Job Reference

As you launch your job search, make sure you have three solid references in your pocket that you can share with a hiring manager. This can be tricky if you’re trying to use a reference from a job you’re working in. Give some thought to the right person that will give you the best reference possible. You want a positive reference that can speak eloquently but succinctly about working with you and experiencing your attitude and skills on the job. So, look for people that know your work but also know your character. They should be fairly articulate, too; they are representing you to the employer in a sense. So, choose wisely. Some tips to consider during this process include:

  • Ask a previous manager or someone you reported to. You might not be able to use your current boss as a reference, but is there a former employer that you can count on? They can speak to your work ethic, job skills, attitudes, and even how responsible you were on the job. Ask this person if they could speak to the value you added to his or her team.
  • Ask a coworker from your current job. Be careful that you trust this person not to share the fact that you’re job hunting, of course. Prep your coworker about the job you’re applying for and what skills they should promote on your behalf.
  • But what if you’re a new graduate? The answer is to ask a professor or teacher if they would be willing to serve as a reference. If you did any internships, this gives you a possibility for a referral also. Your academic advisor might also be a good option.
  • Also consider if you actually know anyone from the company you’re applying to. Can you leverage this relationship for a referral? This would be ideal.
  • Consider carefully what these people will say about you. We recommend preparing your references by practicing what they would say to an employer. Simply ask them, “If the employer calls you do you mind my asking what you would say about me?

When you’ve selected your references, make sure you call them before the employer does to prep them. This is very important if you want the reference to not be caught off guard when the employer calls. Do share the job description with them so they will understand the job responsibilities and begin to put their reference within the context of your next career opportunity.

If you’re searching for a new job, call Stellar Staffing for help. We work closely with top employers to match them with candidates just like you. Our work is free to job seekers and we would be pleased to talk with you about how we can help. Call on us today.

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