The 5 Best Job References You Need to Impress Employers

You’ve applied – and got a response. You’ve been asked in for an interview. It’s all sounding pretty good. You’ve got your interview outfit ready. You’re shoes are polished and your portfolio of achievements is ready to go. That’s everything, right? Oops! You forgot one thing… References!

Chances are when you get to the interview, the hiring manager is going to ask you for job references. You can either supply numbers for them to call or you can come prepared with pre-printed and signed references from those who can vouch for your accomplishments. 

Here’s a list of 5 references you need to help you land that job.

Having your references ready not only helps you feel prepared but it helps an employer get a  well-rounded idea of who you are.

If you really want to impress a potential employer, here’s who should you definitely include on your list of referees.

5 job references that can help you land that job

1. A previous employer

This one is probably the most important of all. Like it or not, employers will take the word of their counterparts (other employers) pretty much over anyone else. This reference should not only talk about the previous job you held but also your accomplishments in that job – and a bit about your work personality.

It helps if it’s written in a friendly style and says that the employer would re-employ you any time – but you can’t always engineer that. (This is why it’s so important to leave a job professionally with bridges intact!) Regardless, it should, obviously, support you as a potential employee.

2. A co-worker

This reference should talk about what it was like to work with you. This is important as it shows a potential employer how you’ll fit in as part of a new team. Generally, a co-worker’s word will be taken more lightly than a previous employer but, regardless, it won’t go astray. 

It can be a good idea to approach someone who worked closely with you and, ideally, as one of your managers or supervisors.

3. A community leader

This reference could be from a sports coach, a church leader, volunteer organisation or club, school leader – or any one else who holds respect in the community. Often, if you’ve done some volunteering, or you’re active in another community group, you’ll find a community leader who is willing to sing your praises in relation to your community spirit. This reference will show that you’re community-minded and have others’ interests at heart.

4. A long time friend or family friend

Someone who has known you for a long time can speak to your background and to your family values. This reference can speak about your personality in general, your reliability, your values and your drive. Be careful not to rely to much on friends for references without providing other avenues. A friend can fill in gaps that bosses might not know but they also might not know what makes you such a great employee.

5. A teacher or mentor

Sometimes, this one can speak the most loudly of all. This reference shows your willingness to listen to others, to learn and to take advice. It shows that you’re open, and willing, to growing as a person and that you actively seek out ways to learn more. If you’re looking for your first job, you probably won’t have a reference from an employer, so this one becomes of utmost importance.

What should be in a reference?

  • How the person knows you
  • Your accomplishments
  • A bit about your personality
  • Their name
  • The position
  • Their contact details

How to Give an Employer Your Job References

Have printed copies at your interview to leave with the employer and, if they don’t ask, certainly offer them up.

You’ve made it this far! Congratulations! Now, let’s get that job!!

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