References are essential when applying for a new career. However, you may find yourself wondering who would make a good reference. Whether you’ve just graduated or have been working as a professional for a couple decades, it’s important to know who will make the best references. Let’s take a closer look at how to choose who to list as a reference on your resume.

Select a Professional

Your resume is your only chance to wow a potential employer. Think of your resume as the first impression the employer will get. For this reason, you need to select the cream of the crop when selecting your references. You want to list references that will impress the employer. For example, if you’ve just graduated, you may want to list the dean of your university as a reference rather than your manager at the fast food restaurant.

Opt for Someone Who Knows Your Skills

It’s important to choose a reference that knows your background. This should be a person that understands your work ethic, can talk about how you preform in stressful situations, whether or not you make it to work on time, etc. An employer will want to know if you’ve done well at previous jobs.

Choose Someone That You Have History With

A colleague you’ve worked with for 10 years is an excellent reference because he will be able to answer many questions an employer may have. Another great example may be your college adviser, if you’ve recently graduated. She would be able to discuss your grades, academic achievements, etc. Either way,, you want someone who you’ve known for some time.

Avoid Personal References

Unless you absolutely have to, you want to avoid using personal references. Employers aren’t interested in what your friends or family have to say, because the information will more than likely be biased. Remember to always stick with professional references.

List Educational References

Last, but not least, don’t be hesitant to list educational references. College graduates usually don’t have many references, other than personal references. However, educational references will be able to give as good of a reference as an employer. Potential employers will be interested in how you preformed in college because it says a lot about how you’ll perform in a career.

References are an important part of any resume. Whether you’ve been working in the field for decades or have just graduated college, you need a strong list of references. However, not everyone makes a good reference. You have to carefully pick your references so that a potential employer will get the most honest review of your worth ethics and performance.

About the Author: Brittanie Weissler is a job counselor based out of some of a prominently located NYC co working space. She counsels college and high school graduates on resume and interview skills and sometimes helps with job placement.


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