Congrats, you just found a posting for your dream job!

But the application asks for three professional references who can highlight your skills... The Big Bang Theory Reaction GIF No need to hyperventilate: read on to find out who you should ask!

Ask The Right People

  • Make a list of people who will likely give you a positive review.

  • Reach out to potential references before you apply for the job and give them enough time to respond.

  • Contact your references in order of preference until you secure enough for the job application.

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Who NOT To Ask For A Reference

Do not ask for a reference from:

  • Family

  • Friends

  • Anyone who fired you

  • Anyone not expecting a call

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Which of the following could you ask for a reference?

Make It Easy

Tell your potential reference what job you are applying for and how your skills and experience match. Include a resume to refresh their memory!

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Best Practices

  • Be polite when asking for a reference.

  • Give the person a way to say no if needed.

  • Send a thank you note.

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How To Ask

When requesting a reference greet the person and ask how they are doing, then provide a brief update on your skills and experience.

End your request by asking if they would be comfortable serving as a reference.

Confirm your reference's contact information (phone and email) so that the hiring manager has no issues getting in touch with them.

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Sample Email Request

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Consider This Scenario

Steven's former supervisor, Greg, receives a call: "Steven listed you as a reference," the caller says.

Greg is taken by surprise because he wasn't aware he was listed as a reference.

When he asks for more information, the caller refuses, citing privacy laws, and hangs up without receiving the recommendation.

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What could Steven do differently to effectively secure a reference in the future?

Take Action

What are you waiting for?

Hopefully, your professional reference helps you land that dream job!


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