How to Know Who to Use as a Job Reference

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

How to Know Who to Use as a Job Reference. Choose references who can speak positively about your abilities to perform on the job. Your best choice is a former employer who thinks highly of you, but there are others who can help. Follow these steps to pick the perfect references.

Determine Who Can Help

Make a list of potential references. Include anyone you know who can offer a learned judgment of your character and skills. In some cases, you can use a relative as a reference, preferably someone who doesn't share your surname.

Use a former supervisor, if possible, who can give a professional summary of your abilities as an employee. Before listing such a person as a job reference, seek permission.

Ask former teachers if you're short of employers or have recently graduated. In essence, you were an employee of many teachers. If you achieved high grades and participated in extracurricular activities, this is an excellent strategy.

Show gratitude. A simple phone call thanking someone for a reference is not only good manners, it represents a good investment. You may need their help again in the future.

Ask for Letters

Seek out letters of recommendation from those you trust. The letter does not need to be long, but should be specifically related to your abilities. Character is often the best trait to praise.

Request that your job reference letters not be overflowing with insincere praise. Fulsome praise can sound dishonest. Ask that the letters be direct and that they make a recommendation for hiring.

Ask your reference writers to sign and date their letters and include contact information. Present them on company letterheads, if possible, to reinforce the air of professionalism.


Search for reference etiquette tips at popular job Web sites.


Do not use anyone for references who will not treat the process seriously. Avoid any mention of gender, race or religion, because these are not legally considerable in hiring practice.

About the Author

This article was written by a professional writer, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more, see our about us page: link below.