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Types of Job References


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When you are applying for jobs you'll need to have a list of references ready. Those references should be able to vouch for your skills, abilities and qualifications as they relate to the jobs you apply for.

Who to Ask for a Reference

Who you ask to give you a reference will depend on your personal and professional circumstances. It's important to be sure that the people you choose to recommend you are willing to give you a good reference. You might be surprised that this isn't always the case. I've heard some things that would ensure that I didn't hire the candidate from some reference providers.

That's why it's important to check before you use someone for a reference - you want to be sure that there isn't anything negative in what they have to say about you.

Types of Job References

Individuals who can provide a professional reference for a job include previous employers, managers, colleagues, clients, business contacts, and others who can recommend you for the position.

If you haven't worked before or if you have been out of the workforce, you can use character or personal references from people who know your skills and attributes as an alternative to professional references.

Keep in mind, that you can also provide references on LinkedIn. If you have recommendations on your LinkedIn Profile prospective employers will be able to see, at a glance, who is recommending you and what they have to say.

Here's advice on how to get LinkedIn recommendations, who to ask for references, and how to manage the recommendations you've received.

Create a List of References

It's important to line up your references ahead of time. In fact, I'm seeing more job postings where employers ask for references along with a resume and cover letter. In those cases, the company may check your references in advance.

What to Include on a Reference List

Your list of references should include at least three references, along with their job title, company, address, phone number, and email address.

There is no need to include references on your resume or to give references to an employer before they ask for them. However, you should be prepared to provide references to potential employers.

Create a separate reference list and have it ready to give or send to employers upon request. Also, bring a copy (along with extra copies of your resume) to give to companies when you interview.

How to Ask for a Reference

Not sure who you should ask to give you a reference or how to ask them to recommend you for employment? Here's how to ask for a reference, along with a sample reference request letter you can tailor to fit your personal circumstances.

Reference Articles and Advice

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