Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
JOB SEARCH / JAN. 08, 2016
version 9, draft 9

5 Tips to Choose Your Best Job Reference

While most people spend eons on their resumes and cover letters, they fail to recognize the importance of having the correct references. And a good reference can make all the difference in the world when it comes to getting hired; potential employers are more likely to trust you when you’ve referred by someone who knows your work.

Choosing the best job reference, however, can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a large pool of references to choose from, but we’re here to help with these great four tips.

See Also: How to Create a References Page

1. Think About Your References Strategically

We now know that we should customize our resumes and cover letters to match the requirements of each position we apply to. But you shouldn’t stop there; you should make sure that who you choose as your reference is somewhat relevant to the attributes you want them to highlight.

If, for example, you’re applying for a position in a company that’s known for its innovation and you’d like to point out to them that you are a creative individual, then you should choose someone who’s familiar with this side of your character.

Don’t use the same references for all job applications because different companies look for different things, so while a former employer could tell a potential new employer of your loyalty, this might not be enough if the company you’re applying to has a fast-paced work environment and they are more interested in your ability to work under pressure.

2. Ask for Their Permission

woman on the phone

In our hurry to get our job applications out there, we often dismiss informing the people we’ve used as references that we’ve used them as such. This could be potentially harming since if the referee is caught off guard, he might not be able to respond accordingly.

So, always inform them beforehand, and make sure you double-check their details. You should always have their name, job title, and contact information correct when you hand them into a hiring manager.

3. Choose References That Are Communicative

You should always leave your personal likes and dislikes out the door when choosing your references because, even if you really like someone in particular and you are certain that they’d vouch for your work ethic and character, if they are not communicative, hiring managers could be displeased.

Always choose people that you know will answer their emails and phone calls, and that you are certain would be willing to take the time to speak to a hiring manager.

4. Coach Your References

While it may seem extreme, you want your references to be prepared for when the hiring manager contacts them, so if it’s possible and you are on friendly terms with your referee, make sure that you have a coaching session with them.

Explain to them what you’d like them to highlight and what your expectations are.

See Also: How to Get a Reference Letter After Getting Fired

Most hiring managers won’t hesitate to contact your references, so it’s always best that you take extra care when deciding who to use as a reference.

Do you have any other tips about choosing references? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments section below!

Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'





Hillary Clinton pointing
JOB SEARCH / AUG 23, 2015

Writing your perfect CV can be a long and sometimes frustrating process. Finding the right form of words, selecting the details that really sell your unique combination...

Looking for Work? Choose Your References Carefully
JOB SEARCH / MAR 28, 2014

According to a new survey, “62% of employers report that when they contact a reference list on an application, the reference didn't have good things to say about a...

How to Ask Your Boss for a Reference for Another Job
JOB SEARCH / JAN 16, 2015

Asking your current boss for a recommendation for another job is not easy, especially if your employer puts a lot of resources into hiring and training. Likewise, telling...

5 Tips to Improve Your Online Job Search
JOB SEARCH / MAR 13, 2015

Today’s competitive job market requires that you take advantage of every available resource you have in order to maximise your chances of landing your dream job! This...

5 Best Jobs for Neat Freaks
JOB SEARCH / DEC 11, 2014

As much as being a neat freak can be plainly annoying and disturbing, there is a silver lining to it. It can be a blessing in disguise if embraced well. Since nobody...

business people talking
JOB SEARCH / AUG 04, 2016

Industry experts know a lot about job hunting because they’ve done it all before. Time to start listening to them? These useful tips should help you! People who already...

Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'
G up arrow