Your job references will be essential whether you are interested in hospitality careers or some other profession. Reference checking is still an important part of the process many employers conduct when searching for the right candidate for a job. If an employer might be taking them seriously, you should assemble a network of references willing to do their best to aid you in securing a job.

Where to Look
Be discerning in your search for job references. Think about who will make strong recommendations and offer encouraging remarks about your qualities and abilities. Choose the people who know you best. This could mean you choose a co-worker over a former supervisor.
If your work history is limited, think outside the realm of past places of employment. If you are a college student, consider asking someone who met you during your internship or someone from a volunteer organization to be a reference. Professors and clergy members are also acceptable, as are business acquaintances. Regardless of your circumstances, avoid listing a family member as a reference.

Help Your References Help You
Quintessential Careers suggests that you provide a copy of your current resume to your references so they know what you can do and have done. Let them know what jobs you are pursuing, and what your goals are for your career. Offer reminders of the things you have done together that are related to what you can do in a new workplace.

If your reference is aware of weaknesses you’ve had in the past, first consider whether that person would make a good reference after all. If you still do want that person to serve as a reference, take some time to discuss how you have corrected past issues.

Treat Your References Well
Stay in touch with references after you know they have spoken to someone for you. Let them know whether you got the job you wanted. Thank them for their assistance.

Building Your Network
Whenever you leave a job, ask for a reference. It’s important to always be building your network. Consider using a professional networking site such as LinkedIn so that past colleagues and supervisors can “recommend” you to others. Receiving endorsements from others can help set you apart from others who are looking for work.

Strive to keep your reference pool current though. If you had a boss several years ago who thought you were a great asset to the company, that’s nice but likely not relevant to what someone will think about you as a worker today. As you look for references, also remember that “proximity can trump prestige,” executive recruiter Marilyn Machlowitz told The Wall Street Journal. Having a big name on your reference list won’t matter much if that person doesn’t know much about you or what you have accomplished.

Last Updated: 05/23/2014


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