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Request job references

References are people who will speak positively about your skills, abilities, and motivation.

References are especially important for entry-level workers. References are usually provided by past work supervisors, teachers, coaches, volunteer coordinators, or colleagues. When you apply for a job, the employer will contact your references to ask how they know you, what your strengths are, and whether they would recommend you for the job.

Steps for requesting a reference:

  • Ask for permission in advance to use someone as your reference. Ask if they would feel comfortable being a reference for you, to be sure they will speak positively about you.
  • Get permission to give out his or her name and phone number or email address. Ask how your reference prefers to be contacted, and the best times to reach her or him.
  • Provide them with your resume and a job description for the position you apply for. Discuss your job search goals so they know what to emphasize.
  • Thank them, and let them know when you get a position.

It’s typical to provide three references when an employer asks for them. Most employers either ask you to send references when you apply, or will request them at a job interview. To present your references, create a one-page document that lists each reference’s name, job title, company / organization, street address, phone number and email address.

Read more on references.