Five Tips for Job References

The praise or criticism of your references can influence whether you are offered a position.  It is therefore important to consider these tips:

*Think about who you ask: You may want to ask a friend or family member that you have known personally.  However, it is important to ask those that KNOW YOUR WORK. For example: a former supervisor, a professor that was your advisor or that you took a class from, a colleague would all be people to consider.

*How to Ask: Do not assume that someone will want to be your reference. Be courteous and professional by meeting, sending an email or calling. Also, ask if they prefer to be contacted by phone or email. Provide your reference with your resume and let them know the types of positions you are targeting.

*When to Ask: If you are looking for a job, you should ask as soon as possible. Do not wait until you have a deadline to meet.

*Update References: When a potential employer informs you that they are going to check your references, contact your reference and send them a link to the job description. This will help them provide feedback that is focused on the position, not just random comments.

*Follow-Up: Let your references know how your job search is going and thank them for providing a reference regardless of whether you were offered the position or not. If you get the job, provide them with your new contact information and stay in touch.

Following these tips will help you to manage this aspect of the job search successfully! For more ideas, schedule an appointment with a career advisor at  Pioneer Careers (see Appointments).

By Patty Hickman
Patty Hickman Director, Serves Graduate Students