Most jobs require at least two or three job references for each applicant. Not only are these contacts used for verifying past employment history, they can also be used to gauge the character before you even begin the onboarding process.
You’ll want to put some thought into your references. Remember, these people will ultimately play a role in whether you get that next job. Many are tempted to list friends and family members; after all, they’re likely to give you stellar reviews.
However, this is actually a big no-no on the modern resume. Not only does this paint you as an inexperienced job seeker, it might even cause the interviewer to think you’re trying to cover up a sketchy past.
Instead, try picking your references from one of the following groups. Not only will it make your resume look better, it will provide you with a real-world reputation to back it up.
Your Last Boss
Believe it or not, your last boss might be the ideal reference. Assuming you left the position on good terms, your previous employer will be able to give more insight into your work ethic, morale and productivity than most. Take care to avoid listing anyone who is in direct competition with your prospective new company. An interviewer might not be interested in contacting a competitor, so make sure your reference counts!
Some of your former co-workers might have insight into your work ethic and morale, too, and they’ll be able to provide any potential employers with a unique perspective. If you still maintain contact with any of your past colleagues or workplace peers, feel free to list them as references on your next resume.
Volunteer groups and community organizations can do wonders for a resume that is lacking actual job experience. In the absence of a previous boss or co-worker, listing any volunteer contacts you may have is a great way to show your sense of self-motivation and teamwork.
This category serves as a catch-all for everyone who is not a personal friend or family member. Instructors, pastors, coaches and business partners make great references for nearly any resume. Apart from highlighting your activities around the community, these individuals can offer a lot of insight into your general character, demeanor and attitude.
Complementing Your Resume With the Right References
When it comes to listing references, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Remember to avoid listing friends or family members. Instead, take some time to screen your own references to make sure they’ll complement your resume in the end.
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