Choosing References

One of the most overlooked facets of your job search can be your personal and professional references. Choosing the right references for you can almost be an after-thought. But, it shouldn’t be.

A good reference can make or break your candidacy for a new job. Here are a few ideas that will help make your references work for you:

  • Get Started Early. Select references who know you well, both professionally and personally. Contact them early in the process, and make sure that they feel comfortable speaking in your behalf.


  • Make Good Choices. Make sure that your references are well-spoken and can easily detail your best attributes. You want them to be able to explain why you would be a good match for the position.
  • Prepare Your References. Send them your résumé and potential job descriptions, and tell them why you want this job and why you would be good at it.
  • Keep Them Posted. Let your references know when they might be contacted. They will respond better if they are prepared to speak about you.
  • Follow Up. Ask that your references let you know when they have been contacted, and immediately send them a thank-you note. They may have helped you more than you know, and it’s important to show your appreciation.