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Job references, the last major hurdle to employment

Job references are absolutely necessary to have and to provide to gain employment. But how do you utilize a work reference if you were fired from or quit your job? Who or how many do you need? Let’s find out.


This article is broken up into a few short and easy-to-read sections. We will discuss a general overview of a job reference, how to get one or two or three references and who they should be, some tips on how to work around difficult circumstances, such as if you are fired or quit or left on bad terms with your employer, and how to prepare your references for a phone call. The article is generalized, so please give me a call or email and we can help with some specific situations.


General information on job references

Job references are divided into two categories. 1) Work-related and 2) Non-work (or unpaid) references. The first is related to those people that you worked for or with and the latter is related to academic, volunteer, and other non-paid situations.


How to get a work reference? The quantity and quality needed

Building a good network of work references is very important. Most companies should ask for work references to validate your performance to some degree. Depending on the nature of the position, you may be required to provide a supervisor, manager, customer or client, and or a co-worker. Most companies like manager and or supervisor references, but in a lot of cases, it is difficult to provide these as companies generally have a policy against providing references.


How many do I need?

Generally, you will need at least three. Three is a good number because if one of your references is not available your future employer will be able to obtain two solid references. Most companies ask for three, and if you are a strong candidate, two should do.


What happens if I quit, was fired or left on bad terms, how do I get a reference?

If you have worked for another company or have prior work experience, utilize those references. If your future employer pressures you or asks you about references with respect to the company you just worked for and was fired from, you can let them know that the company is unable to provide references (which is true, as they probably would not). They would probably ask you why you left the company anyway, so you will have to show some tact at that point.


Prepping your reference(s)

You should spend time preparing for your interview (better prepared candidates will be successful), so it’s time to prepare your references. Essentially your references will be interviewed by the future company. 1) The first thing to do is tell your references they will be contacted. 2) provide your references with your resume and any other information and 3) give them a sheet about what you want them to focus on. I would not tell them they have to say what you have provided, but by providing them with some simple points about your experience, such as how long they worked with you and some jobs or projects you completed, will jog their memory.


Remember to keep your references safe and only provide to employers that are interested in you as a candidate. Another good tip is to send your references thank you notes and keep in contact with them.


Do you have a good suggestion regarding references you would like to share?


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