Most jobs ask for references, especially if you are one of the finalists for a position. But which people should you choose as references? This is a critical decision to make when putting together a job application.
You should ask at least three people for references when you’re engaged in a job search. Here are four tips about how to choose the best job references.
A manager should be included
Most employers will expect you to provide the names of former managers as references. In fact, companies might find it suspicious if you don’t provide the name of any former manager.
However, be sure to choose wisely here. If you have ever received an official reprimand from a manager or had personal issues with them, it’s better to leave them off the list. If choosing your current manager would alert them that you’re looking for a job, choose a manager from a past position.
Ask your references what they’d say
It’s perfectly acceptable to ask your references if they can make a positive recommendation. In fact, you should do this, because a negative recommendation can jettison any prospects you have of getting the job! Simply say, “Would you be comfortable giving me a positive recommendation based on your knowledge of my work?”
You can also ask your references for written letters of recommendation or for testimonials on LinkedIn. Both of these methods give you an idea of what they’d say.
Focus on who can best speak to your qualifications for the position
Your references should be able to give an overview of how you would perform in the position with specific examples of how you’ve done in the past. Therefore, choose the people who can best speak to the position you’re applying for.
Say you are currently working as an administrative assistant, but are applying for a position in social media. If you have experience volunteering as a social media director, it is acceptable to ask someone who knows your work in social media to serve as a reference.
Ask a co-worker
Many times, companies are interested in knowing how a job candidate has worked with colleagues or as a member of a team. You can ask a co-worker who can speak to the qualifications of the position and what you were like to work with.