Job Application References


If you’re on the job hunt, it’s a good idea to have your references ready. At a certain point in the hiring process, hiring managers might ask for this list. They’re looking for honest impressions about your skills, qualifications, and experience from people who know you and, typically, have worked with you. Here are some helpful tips to get your references in order.

Who to list

While your closest friend most likely thinks you’re the greatest person alive, they’re not the right person to ask for a professional reference. It’s best to keep friends and family members separate from your list of references. Instead, focus on former supervisors, coworkers, or even people you supervised. If you’ve never had a job, you can provide employers with a personal reference. In this case, ask teachers, mentors, coaches, or community leaders. Overall, you want to select those who are familiar with your skill set. Plan to have at least 3 references.

Asking permission is key

It’s always best practice to ask someone if you can list them as a reference before you do. Not doing this could result in you missing out on the job. Your references might be unprepared to speak to employers, which ultimately makes you look unprepared. When asking, provide them with as many details as possible, like which industries or companies you’re applying to and what the required skills are for the various positions. This allows people to start thinking about how they can talk you up to employers. 

How to provide this information

Your list of references should be provided to employers in its own document. Make sure it uses the same font as your cover letter and resume. You’ll want to list the names of your references and provide their contact information, including where they work and their current title. You can briefly state how you are familiar with each reference.

Thank them

Similar to sending a note at the end of an interview, you want to adopt the same practice for references. They’re taking the time to say something glowing about you that could very well be the determining factor in you getting a job. Sending a quick note that expresses your appreciation keeps you on good terms with your references.

Do you need help with references? You can visit a no-cost Goodwill Career Center and ask a career advisor for assistance. Call 602-535-4444 to find a center near you or visit our locations page. Good luck with your job search!

Job Application References

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