5 Tips on Selecting and Preparing Work References

Someone giving work reference at Addison Group

A job reference request is common near the end of your job search. As a job seeker, you may be wondering who to ask for work references. Make sure to go about this process carefully, so you don’t step on anyone’s toes.

Choose Work References Carefully

Most people will gladly provide a reference if asked. However, you really want to think about who will speak most highly of you. You want the person you list to be well-spoken, close to you, relevant in your life, and professional. You want to consider what information you want conveyed. For example, if you are seeking a job that requires financial prowess, then you would want a reference who could speak to that.

Use Recent Work References

You don’t want to use people as references if you have not spoken with them in the last five years. Pick recent people who can speak to where you’re at in your career now and are familiar with your most recent successes.


Addison Group Workforce Planning Guide 2024


Ask Before You Give Out Anyone’s Phone Number or Email

This point is paramount. Before listing anyone as a reference, you want to give them a heads up and ask their permission first.  You don’t want the person who is going to give you a reference to be taken off-guard by a random person asking to talk about you. Their confusion may be heard over the phone, which can create a bad impression and may hurt you during the job search.

Brief Your References

Let your references know what kind of job you’re seeking. This includes the type of job you’re looking for, what type of skills they should emphasize, and when they can expect to receive a phone call.

Thank Those Who Gave You References

Finally, you want to show your appreciation. Giving a reference can be time consuming and your appreciation and recognition of that will mean a lot. Thank references for their kind words. Additionally, you should keep them in the loop regarding whether you obtained the position or not.

When signs indicate you’re ready to start your job search, you’ll want to turn to Addison Group. With more than 20 years of experience, we match you with the perfect job that aligns with your career goals. Contact us today to find the job you’ve been looking for!


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