It can be hard to figure out who to use as a reference whether you are just starting to work, returning to work after some time off or just in need of someone new and reliable. References can be tricky, as you need to know that they will provide quality information on your work ethic, experience and character.
Family is not an option due to the thought that they would say good things about you no matter what. For younger job searchers, teachers can be an option, but what happens when school goes on summer break and you only have the school number?
Co-workers and supervisors are good options, but are you sure what they will say? Peers, neighbors, mentors and fellow members of your house of worship are always good options, but people sometimes forget their secret weapon—their job trainer, career coach, workforce development specialist; no matter the name, they are someone who you should be using as a reference!
So how do you use your job trainer? You should be receiving someone who will be working with you in a classroom setting, a job training environment or on employment skills one-on-one. This person has the ability to advocate on your behalf, but you have some responsibility involved in this professional relationship, too, if you want to get their endorsement.
First, think of what it is that you want an employer to know about you and write down those qualities, skills or characteristics. Second, think about if you are showing those same things to your job trainer. If you are not, then the goal will be to fix this disconnect.
As a career coach myself, I will let you in on the basic secrets to being able to best use your secret weapon as a quality reference:
- Attend all appointments.
- Be on time.
- Follow through on any assignment.
- Be motivated without being pushed.
- Demonstrate a positive attitude.
- Present a professional appearance.
- Show initiative.
Treat your program, job training site or work experience as you would the job that you love. Show pride in your work no matter what it is, and you will be recognized. Each step along the way can assist you with growing your skills, developing your character and increasing your job trainer’s confidence that you are the person they would recommend for any job. Remember: This is all for your future!