You Cannot Use Your Mother
Professional job references carry more
credibility than character references
There are two kinds of job references. The first comes from Human Resources associates at former employers who verify job titles, length of service, and little else. Due to privacy laws, many companies provide only the most basic information.
The second kind of job reference is a professional job referral that comes from someone directly familiar with your qualifications and performance. During the application process, you are generally asked to provide at least three professional references. List people with whom you have worked in prior jobs - someone to whom you have reported or who has supervised, or is familiar with, your work. A reference should confirm and reinforce the information you have presented in your resume and interview.
Professional job referrals carry more credibility than character references, which are not relied upon nor requested, for the most part.
Please note: whilst conducting a confidential job search, most candidates ask that their current employers NOT be called for a work reference.
Think carefully about whom you are asking for a job reference. They may be invited to:
- Provide comments on your job skills and performance.
- Describe your responsibilities.
- Discuss your strengths and areas for development.
- Touch on your work habits and style.
- Describe the kind of people with whom you work best.
- Talk about the management style that best suits you.
- Discuss your participation in projects.
- Discuss your ability to work unsupervised or in a team.
- Comment on your ability to take direction.
- Provide an opinion on your suitability for the new role.
Always remember to ask for referees' permission before you provide their contact details to prospective employers. Tell them if you will be listing them regularly during your job search. If you are a finalist for a position, notify your job referrals of a likely call. Describe the job you are after, and ask them to touch on your relevant abilities.