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Who is the Best Person to Ask for a Professional Reference?

During the interview process, most potential employers ask you to supply them with a list of references. This list is very important as the icing on the interview cake; therefore, picking the wrong reference will make it more unlikely that you get the offer. While you may list an employer, you can also list personal references. But whom should you select to take on the job of “selling” your candidacy? Here are some tips for picking the right professional reference.

Who to Pick and How to Ask

It’s okay to not ask your former supervisor for a reference. But it is helpful to select a team member that you worked closely with. Consider your business colleagues and contacts, or vendors you’ve worked with, or even clients you handled. While references may seem like a no-brainer, you should give some serious consideration to their role in your application process. If you choose wrongly, it could stifle your ability to get the job.

Think about all the people you’ve worked with – what they would say about your performance? Make a list. The reference should know you and your work ethic well. Discard anyone that you think will not be able to “sell” you to a potential employer. If they aren’t articulate on the phone or if you think they might not paint you in the best light, discard them.

Consider who will respond to the employer quickly. We all have work colleagues who suffer from procrastination. Dump anyone from the list that you think won’t respond quickly to an employer’s request for a reference.

Never list someone on your reference sheet that you haven’t personally asked to be there. If they’ve served as a reference in the past and been on the list awhile, make sure you call them to tell them about the latest opportunity you have so they understand the role and your possible position in the new company. You could email them the job description, so they understand how your credentials match up. That way, they can frame their reference around the job you’re applying to.

A simple, “I’m currently looking for some new opportunities. Would you be willing to serve as a confidential personal reference for my work?” is all you need to say when asking for a reference. These conversations are often best in person or on the phone. When talking to the reference, it’s okay to ask them for a dry run of what they might say to the employer. You can also help guide their reference by asking them specifically to comment on a project you worked on together, for example. You could even have more than three references, and then pick and choose which ones you’ll use for a particular job you’re seeking.

References Are Important to Your Job Search

Always thank your professional references for their support and keep them updated on the roles where you’ve made it to the final round. Your professional reference can help you land your next job. They can also cause employers to back off from your candidacy, so choose wisely.

If you’re looking for your next job, contact Gecko Hospitality today.


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