When applying for a job- oftentimes during the process the company will ask you to provide references. But who do you list? You don’t want to burn bridges by including your current employer, and you don’t want to list family members – because they don’t hold as much professional weight as other contacts in your life. So what are the best types of people to include as references to ensure the most effective results? Here is a list of FIVE different people to consider.
1. Previous Bosses
Asking a previous employer is one of the most effective and beneficial references you could choose. Before you just pick any previous boss, assess your relationship with them. Was this a job you cared about? Put in the effort? Did you get along well with your boss? If you have a lot of positive experiences with your past position, your previous employer would make a great reference. They can share your efficiency, work ethic, your personality as an employee, and your skills. They have direct insight into what it would be like to have you as an employee of theirs.
2. Past Colleagues
In addition to asking your previous employer to be a job reference, your past coworkers are another great resource for a reference. However, they can give insight into how you are as a team member, as a fellow colleague and can share how their day to day was working alongside you.
Maybe you had a manager who supervised you but wasn’t exactly your employer. This person may have overseen your work, kept you on track with projects, or helped you set and reach your personal work goals – and you worked directly with each other daily. This would be a great reference source to include as well.
A past professor can share great insight into how you are in a learning environment. They can talk about how receptive you were to new lessons, the skills you developed while being a part of their class and what type of student you are. For example; proactive, thorough, organized, etc. We suggest listing your professor – after listing some of the previous types above, first.
5. Professional Friendships
When asking a mentor to be a reference, Lex R. Brown II from Task & Purpose says, they should be “very familiar with your personal vision and career goals”. In this instance, they would also be a great addition to add as a job reference. Additionally, a high school or college coach – is another type of person to ask. They are in the leadership position to you as an athlete (similar to a mentor) – and can generally attest to your work ethic, traits, and how well you respond to being “coached”. If you still keep in contact with them, feel free to also include them as a job reference. However, we suggest trying to go through the previous suggestions first, as well.
[We want to know who you’ve listed as a job reference! Share with us in the comments: ]
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