When it comes to asking colleagues or former supervisors for job references, there’s more to just asking “Hey, can you give me a reference?”

Read below for tips on how to ask for references to ensure that you’ll receive great ones.

  • You will want to have a good mix of supervisors, colleagues and possibly even clients or vendors in your reference list so that they can speak well regarding your work ethic and how it was to work alongside you.
  • When you ask someone to be a reference, make sure she will give you a good-to-great one. Don’t assume that just because she says “Sure, I’ll give you a reference” means it will be a good one. She may not know you well enough, or she may feel that your performance was sub-par and happily tell a hiring manager so.
  • Ask directly: “I’d like to use as a job reference. Will you give me a good one?”
  • Ask your references how they prefer to be contacted by hiring managers. Is it best to reach them via e-mail or phone? Then be sure to let hiring managers know this.
  • If you haven’t worked with or for your references for more than three or four years, it’s time to get new references.
  • Create a document that lists your references. The reference for each person should include the person’s name; her title; the company at which she works; her phone number, e-mail address (and which method she prefers); and your relationship with the person. (Was she a supervisor, colleague, vendor, or client?)
  • You can then send this reference list with your application if requested in the job ad. If references aren’t asked for in the ad, don’t send them; you’ll present or send the list when the hiring manager asks for them.
  • As you interview, you want to be sure your references know that they will be contacted and by whom. But be careful: you don’t need to tell them to be ready for a reference check each time you apply for a job. Let them know to expect a call or e-mail only when you’re pretty certain a hiring manager or company recruiter will be calling to check on references.
  • Make sure you tell your references when you’ve accepted a new position and be sure to thank them for their help.

Bring that list of great references with your resume to the recruiters of Winston Resources. If you’re looking for work in the New York City area, contact us today so that we can help you find job opportunities with some of Manhattan’s top employers.

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