Reference Page Overview

Sooner or later in the job campaign, you are going to be asked for the names of three to six references. Here are some tips for making references a stronger part of your application.

Brief Your Contacts
Make sure the people you are using as references know about your past and present activities, as well as the kind of work you are seeking. One of the best ways to do this is to provide them with a complete current resume, and have notes on things you may wish to have them mention.

Get Their Permission
It goes without saying that you should always request permission to use a person's name as a reference. You need not ask them every single time their name is used but, if you haven't cited their name recently, check to make sure it is still OK. Many people combine the request to use a reference with the process of briefing, cited above.

You're Judged by Whom You Know
To the extent that persons you list as references are well-known and respected in your community, what they say about you will carry more weight. Ideally, references should be people who are leaders in an organization at the management or professional level.

Provide Details on Your References
When you list references, give the name of the person, his or her job title, place of employment, address and phone number. It's best to use a work rather than a home address.

Pick the Right Kind of References
What relatives, ministers or rabbis, personal friends, and certainly therapists say about you isn't going to do much for your job candidacy. In contrary, what former employers, community officials, and other known leaders say about you will help your cause. Your references and what they say about you may make the difference between getting a job or finishing out of the running

Pick People Who Know Your Best Achievements
Were you honored in high school, college, or in your community for a particular achievement? Did you do something outstanding in a prior position? If you have had some major achievements in life, but don't want to tout them too highly yourself, use as references someone who knows and can report on them.

After They Have Helped, Inform and Thank References
When you know they have given a reference for you, be sure to thank them and tell what happened. To the extent that they become interested in your job campaign, they are more likely to give a more favorable report next time.