Black Chip Collective | How to Ask for a Job Reference
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How to Ask for a Job Reference

Dec 14 2016

How to Ask for a Job Reference

It should be the easiest part of the job hunting process. It should only happen when both an employer and potential employee are serious about working together. But so many people screw up references. They bandy them about to any employer who will open an e-mail or they don’t have them ready when the need arises.


Don’t wait any longer, get your references in place.


Select References

Obviously, when selecting references, you want to choose people who have worked directly with you and who have a high opinion of you, but there are more nuanced strategies. It’s best to provide a mix of different types of people to provide different perspectives. In general, you want a mix of people who know you and your work very well and people who have impressive titles at well known organizations. Managers sometimes like to have a supervisor, a peer, and a subordinate. Recent college grads can use a mix of professors, supervisors from part time jobs to speak to work ethic, and even club leaders to provide a peer opinion. Freelancers can use a select group of clients as well as other freelancers and crew they’ve worked alongside.


Ask For Permission

It can be uncomfortable to ask people for a favor, but it’s an absolute must. The last thing you want is one of your references to receive a call out of the blue and be asked to give their opinion of you. Most people will be happy to do this for you (if not, they’re probably not a great reference) so don’t be scared to ask.


Brief Your References

It’s great that you got permission from your references, but you can do better. Let your references know when you provide their info (since it should be only on jobs where you’re likely get an offer and accept) so they know who might be calling. Brief them on what the job is and what your potential position will be so they can start thinking about how your skills relate to the job.

Have a specific strategy we didn’t mention? What is it and how successful has it been?

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