How to Pick the Right People as Job References

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How to Pick the Right People as Job References

Choosing a person to act as a reference as you search for a new position is not as simple as it may seem. While it may be tempting to list your work friends, they will not be of help if they aren’t able to give you a proper review when called. A good job reference is able to:

  • Answer questions about your work responsibilities

  • Speak knowledgeably about how you handle certain work scenarios

  • Vouch for your experience

A friend will be inclined to say whatever is needed to help you get a new position, but without detailed knowledge of the subject, their efforts will be exposed early on. Here are some things to think about when choosing a good job reference:

Pick a Direct Manager

A direct manager will be able to speak intelligently about your diligence, timeliness, and capabilities as well as your overall work ethic. They will also be able to provide examples of how you perform certain tasks. Be sure to select a manager that will have a good report. Unless you have divulged that you are looking for a new position to your current manager select a manager from a former position.

Pick a Colleague

Someone who works in the same group as you and does the same type of work will be able to describe more succinctly your job responsibilities and how well you excelled at them.

Pick a Client

There are many roles where you have internal and external clients. Choose a client who can discuss how you provided service to them. The client should be able to discuss the nuances of your communication, documentation, and follow up from a unique perspective. Their report will exemplify how well you delight your clients.

Think long and hard about your reference list before supplying it to potential employees. This list is almost as important as your resume, so give it the time it deserves.



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