Thursday, March 8, 2012 myBiz Blog
Who do I ask to be a reference? by Rebecca Radke

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It is important to choose references who can positively attest to your ability to handle a job with professionalism and maturity. References you might want to ask include:

  • Current or former direct supervisors
  • College lecturers and professors
  • Coaches
  • Industry mentors who know you and your work well

These people know with your work and can attest to your ability. Before including a reference on your reference sheet, make sure to take the time to formally ask, either by phone or by e-mail, if they would be willing to serve as a reference for you and the type of positions for which you are applying.  Some may choose to; others may not. Without asking their permission first, you are putting them on the spot if they receive a call and they may not be able or willing to speak highly of your abilities and successes. References should be listed on a separate piece of paper. They should NEVER be included as part of your resume.

References you should NOT include:

  • Academic or career advisors
  • Family friends
  • Peers

Although these people may know you personally, they most likely have not witnessed your work firsthand or how you might behave in a work setting.

It is a good idea to list your references in order of strength (e.g. your strongest reference should be listed first.)  Be sure to give your references a copy of your resume and keep them informed about the positions you are interviewing for and who might be contacting them.

When seeking full-time positions, list three to five references; otherwise two to three are sufficient.

Coming up in future Career Corner posts: How to handle an employer site visit and how to protect yourself from potential job scams!

Rebecca Radke is a peer advisor in the BCC and a marketing and real estate BBA student.