Some things never change: just before the job offer, employers are most likely going to ask you for a list of professional references.
The key to doing this sometimes last-step in the interview process well? Prepare a list of references that may be called upon during your job search… and then pull those best suited for that specific job.
Think about your relationship with each person. How closely did you work with them? How recently did you work together? How will they explain your qualities to the hiring manager? All these details play a role in who you submit as a reference; your goal: select those who will emphasize how your strengths will benefit that potential employer.
To build your list of potential references, here are five people you should consider including:
1. Former Employer
A previous employer can provide the best insight into your work ethic. They know what your responsibilities were at your job and how you handled them.
Someone you worked alongside at a previous job, even if they weren’t your boss, can be an excellent reference. They will be able to speak about things you worked on together and what you achieved as a team. Teamwork is one of the most important soft skills an employer looks for, so having someone to vouch for your teamwork skills is vital.
A teacher or professor can provide a really strong reference, especially if they taught a course pertinent to your major. They will be able to talk about the skills you picked up during their course, as well as your personal character.
An academic advisor, depending on the amount of time you spent with them, is another great option for a reference. The mentors you’ve developed are also an excellent choice as they can talk about how you’ve grown into the professional you are today.
Someone who supervised you, but wasn’t necessarily your boss, could be another excellent reference to include. This could be a supervisor from a volunteer project, an internship, or some other extracurricular activity. Any of these people spent enough time working with you to get a sense of your character, and probably your passions. That combination makes for a great reference.
Choose at least three of these people to include on your list of professional references. Always bring a few copies of your list to interviews, in case you’re asked to provide them. Promptly let the people on your list know when a hiring manager asks for your references, so they know to expect a call or email.
Your references could make or break your chances of landing a job, so make sure you select the best people to speak on your behalf!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Glassdoor!
About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets. Follow Heather on Twitter!