Getting a Job: Professional & Personal References

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Getting a Job: Professional & Personal References

Personal and professional references are important to have when applying for jobs. References are people who can talk about your skills and job experience – people who you feel know you best and would be willing to talk about your strengths at work or in general. If you have turned in your application and are getting ready for an interview or have just had one, you should prepare a list of professional and/or personal references. 

Many employers either ask for references with the job application itself or separately, during or after the interview. Sometimes they will not ask for references until you are asked back for a second interview. That’s right, some employers will interview you not once, but twice to make sure they’ve selected the right person for the job. In order to have your reference sheet ready to go, you must first ask the people that you list as references if they would be willing to give some positive remarks about you.   Here are some steps to get you started:

  • Contact 3 – 5 people you’ve worked or volunteered with and have known for at least two years. You could also include a school counselor, teacher, etc.  
  • List the person’s full name, job title, address, and phone number.  You may also include an email address.  Make sure all information is current.
  • Note whether your contacts are professional or personal references.
  • You may also want to list how long you’ve known the person.
  • Attach the reference sheet to your resume, and bring it with you to the interview. This will show that you’ve come prepared.

Be sure to let your reference people know when you’ve given out their personal information. This way they will be prepared for a call and know what position you’ve applied for. If you think there is something specific your references should know about the position you’ve applied for, be sure to tell them. For example, if you’re applying for a teaching job you may want to suggest that your reference talk about how well you work with children or about your experience teaching or training others. Last but not least, be sure to let those who did give you a reference know that you appreciate their assistance, and keep them informed of whether or not you get the job. Good luck!    

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