Five Tips for Getting Positive Job References

I am always thinking of what former and current bosses would say about me if I ever gave their names as a reference. I mean, I’m a hard worker, honest and always willing to help, but is that what they would say? A good reference is important, after all, to getting the job you want and building a great career.

I came across an article by Liz Ryan, a Forbes blogger, called “The Truth About Job References.” I thought that I’d share some of Ryan’s tips and add a few of my own so others would be able to get the best references that they can.

When choosing references, here are five things you should keep in mind:

  1. Choose references that will say something good about you. You don’t need a lot of references, but you need people on the list who are passionate fans of your work.
  2. It is okay to list a co-worker/friend as a reference, but make sure it’s the right one. Choose a co-worker that has actually seen your work, has a good reputation on the job and can honestly say how great of a person you are!
  3. Most recruiters want references from former bosses. Choose one from a job that you left on good terms.
  4. Choose a mix of references from different jobs or timeframes in your career. This will give the recruiter a variety of opinions and a grander view of who you are.
  5. If you happen to have a history of “horrible bosses,” choose a co-worker at the management level who actually witnessed your work, even though you were not working directly for them. Make sure you have their permission to be listed as a reference. It’s better to have a good reference from someone else’s boss than a bad one from your own!

Job references help recruiters learn who you are from other people’s point of view, so it is important that you choose people who will paint a pretty and honest picture of you. Good luck!

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