How Do You Ask for a Reference?


Quick Answer

When seeking to have someone serve as a reference for a job, ask the person before applying for the job. Let the reference know what the position entails and inform her that she is listed as a reference.

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Full Answer

It's important to seek references before applying for jobs because the hiring process can sometimes proceed faster than expected. A good reference is someone who should maximize a job seeker's potential.

It's best to avoid family members and friends when listing references. Companies usually look for professional references. In this case, ask a manager or supervisor from a past job or volunteer position. A job seeker can narrow a list of references to those who are most familiar with past job performance.

Ask for references from people who want to see you succeed. Those who are articulate and can accurately explain your qualifications, character and personal accomplishments are worth considering.

It's also a good idea to select references with whom the job seeker has recently worked. References from older job positions can be called or emailed with a reminder of their connection to the job seeker's current career aspirations. An individual seeking a reference should make it clear that the reference candidate can decline if she desires. A neutral reference is as ineffectual as a poor reference.

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