Job references have long been part of the hiring process. In most cases, you will be asked to provide them. This request usually comes after you have submitted your resume (typically during or after the interview) and signals that an employer is interested in you as a viable candidate.
Employment references provide potential employers another person’s opinion of you so that they don’t have to rely solely on the claims you make in the resume or job interview. These third-party endorsements add weight and credibility to your candidacy.
There are typically two types of references you can obtain: character references and work experience references. The character reference provides a potential employer with glimpses of the type of person you are and the work experience reference validates your experience and past performance.
Typically, this is an area where people make a huge mistake. They do not clearly examine the opinion of the person they want to use as a reference. Worse, they do not ask permission to use a person as a reference.
Unfortunately, I have had several people ask to use me as references when I knew I could not give a positive opinion. Luckily, the company I worked for, did not permit references.
The point I’m trying to make is ask permission from people who you know, without a doubt, will provide you a favorable opinion. Now, in the case you cannot obtain references, I have used actual copies of my performance reviews, letters of praise from my boss and customers, or outstanding attendance or quality awards.
Additionally, if it works in your favorite, use a co-worker. Personally, I’ve always tried to have a nice balance of references: a boss, a co-worker, and a character reference. Stay away from using relatives. Remember, your goal is to solidify your experience and credibility.
Now that you know more about job references. Make them work for you – not against you!