Choosing the best job references

References Dog

Looking for a job can be stressful, but finding the right references to support your application can be equally daunting. Hiring managers often rely on references to gauge your performance, work ethic, and overall character. As such, selecting the right references is crucial to securing your dream job. In this article, we’ll provide you with some tips to help you choose the best references for your job application.

Choose People Who Know Your Work Well

The first and most important rule of selecting job references is to choose people who know your work well. This could be a former supervisor, co-worker, or even a customer or client you’ve worked with. The key is to select people who can speak to your abilities and provide credible evidence of your performance. Avoid selecting family members, friends, or acquaintances who have no knowledge of your work. Hiring managers are looking for objective references who can provide valuable insights into your skills and work habits.

Consider the Job You’re Applying For

Think about the skills and experience required for the role and choose references who can speak to those specific areas. For example, if you’re applying for a job in customer service, it would be helpful to have a reference who can speak to your customer service skills. Similarly, if you’re applying for a job in project management, you may want to choose a reference who can speak to your leadership and organisational skills.

Ask for Permission

Before using someone as a reference, it’s important to ask for their permission. This not only shows respect for their time but also gives them the opportunity to prepare for any questions they may be asked. It’s also a good idea to provide them with a copy of your resume or the job description so they can tailor their feedback to the job you’re applying for.

Prepare Your References

Once you’ve selected your references, I recommend that you prepare them for any potential calls or emails from hiring managers. Make sure they have a copy of your updated resume and the job description so they can speak to your qualifications and experience. You may also want to provide them with some talking points or examples of your work that they can reference during the call.

Follow Up with a Thank You

Finally, follow up with a thank you after your references have been contacted. Let them know how much you appreciate their support and provide them with an update on your job search. This not only shows gratitude but also keeps them in the loop and may help you build a stronger professional relationship in the future.


Choosing the right job references can be a daunting task, but with these tips, you’ll be able to pick the best references for your job application. Remember to choose people who know your work well, consider the job you’re applying for, ask for permission, prepare your references, and follow up with a thank you. With the right references in your corner, you’ll be one step closer to landing your dream job.

Main image credit:  Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash