Category Archives: References

Your Job Search: Who to List as Employment References



“I’m applying for a job, and it says I have to list two references. Do I have to include this? I’m not sure who to put.” – Lee from Reno, NV


Thanks for your question, Lee. If the job you’re applying for requests references, you shouldn’t leave that space blank. Employers who receive large numbers of applications or résumés will often give each one only a quick glance before deciding whether to advance that candidate to the next round. Any omission in your application could cause you to be passed by.

What Do You Need to Prove?

Think about the position for which you’re applying – what qualities does that person need to demonstrate? Maybe they need to know how to manage others, how to solve conflicts or be detail-oriented. If you’re responding to a job advertisement, review the words the employer has chosen to describe its ideal candidate.

Next, consider the characteristics that all employers like to see in their staff. No matter what job you’re applying for, you want to demonstrate that you’re responsible, dependable, honest, a team player and someone who shows initiative, just to name a few.

Brainstorming Potential References

Now that you have your list, you want to think about the people you know who can speak to an employer about the ways in which you demonstrate those qualities. While former job supervisors are the first people many job seekers think of in terms of references, you can also consider asking these kinds of individuals:

  • Professors or instructors
  • Coaches
  • Church or volunteer group leaders
  • Coworkers
  • Professional contacts who are familiar with your work

If you have a challenge in your background such as a criminal history including someone as a reference who can speak to your journey and positive qualities — such as a case manager or social worker — can be important.

Avoid listing family members or close friends as references – employers may perceive them as giving a biased opinion of your work. You should also avoid listing anyone who might have anything negative to say about you.

Contacting Your References

Once you’ve determined who you’d like to list as your references, reach out to them and ask them if it’s okay to list them on your job applications. You also want to make sure you have the most updated contact information – such as a phone number and email — for them.

If they say yes, brief them on the jobs you’re applying for and the qualities you’re looking to demonstrate. You may also want to provide this information to them via email, so they can refer to it if they receive a call from an employer.

If they say no, don’t get discouraged — after all, you only want references that are comfortable and willing to talk about you with potential employers. Be sure to thank them for the consideration and end the conversation politely.

 cross posted from

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Filed under References, Resume

Forward My Resume Please

Networking for Mutual Benefit is a key part of the job search.

Introducing yourself to others who may be able to introduce you to good job opportunities can only happen if you network well. This activity is important to get your resume in front of the right person. Especially since over 80% of all jobs are not published. Your friends, family and growing network contacts are the path to these jobs.

Here are some tips for doing this:

1. Make sure the person you are talking with learns enough about you.
You do not want someone to talk about you unless they know enough to be able to introduce you to the right people. They do not need to know your life history, but they do need to know the key points about your skills, experiences, passion and career goals.

2. Ask them to review your resume so that they know what it says.
You may have told them one thing, but your resume may say it differently, or include something that you did not tell them. Talking with you about your resume content can help make sure they are better informed to share your resume with the right people (not organizations, but people).

3. Have your networking contact only share your resume where it is relevant and with people they know.
There is no value to the job seeker to use networking as another means of getting your resume scattered around town. This is what Monster, Careerbuilder, Ladders, LinkedIn and the other Job Boards are for. Having your resume delivered directly to someone who can benefit by seeing it is far more important and successful to both the job seeker and recruiter/hiring manager. Also, anyone knowing the true value of networking for Mutual Benefit will not flood their contacts with random and irrelevant resumes. This is rude and can tarnish a good relationship.

4. Ask that your networking contact to tell you where they plan to send your resume before they do so.
This is important for the job seeker for a few reasons. You may not want your resume shared at a business where you do not want to work, especially if you are still working and the business is a sister or partner company. Additionally, you want to be able to follow up afterwards and talk directly with the person your resume was forwarded to.

5. Thank your networking contact anytime they share your resume.
A good honest thank you followed by an offer to help them in any way goes a long way to nurture the relationship you have with a new contact as well as a long time friend.

You need to use Networking for Mutual Benefit to get your resume in front of the right people. Do this right and you it works.

This article is from Teddy Burriss’s blog @

Teddy Burriss

Networking Strategist at Burriss Consulting, Inc.

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Filed under Initiative, Network, References

Don’t Do It!

Remember that the whole point of a resume is to get an interview.  Some people treat resumes as Curriculum Vitae, listing every job, duty and accomplishment since they entered the workforce.  You want a resume to impress employers and show them you are capable of performing the job duties.  With that said, remember NOT to include the following:

1.     Your birthdate, year of high school graduation or any other indicator of age.  The person reviewing the resume may think, “This person is too young to do this job”, or “This person is too old to do this job”.
2.    Personal information which may contain or suggest discriminatory information such as sexual preference or religion.  All information in a resume needs to be professional (unless it directly pertains to the open position), so don’t include hobbies, either.
3.    References.  Giving out personal information such as addresses and cell phone numbers to every prospective employer may indicate a lack of respect.  Type a separate page in the same font as your resume and give out only when requested.
4.    Irrelevant job experience.  If you have performed duties in the food service industry and in construction, have two separate resumes.  Use the header Relevant Work Experience and include jobs that show you have the experience.
5.    Social Security Number-the basis for identity theft.  This should be guarded information.
6.    Salary history or requests.  Again, employers may make assumptions based on your previous rate of pay.  If the position you have applied for pays much more than you have made in the past, the company may assume you will work for less.  After all, you have in the past.  If the position pays less, they may not offer the job in fear that you won’t accept or will be expecting a raise soon.
7.    Grammatical errors or typos.  This is your first impression.  If you don’t take the time to proofread and produce quality results, what does that say about your job performance? Will this person take the time at work to make sure that quality is priority?
8.    Bashing of previous employers.  Any negative comments will be a direct reflection on the type of person you are, not the previous employer.  This is the quickest way to NOT get a job.

A resume is merely a list of skills and experiences you have.  Once you have the interview, you can let your personality shine through as you sell yourself!

Carrie Cole

Career Connections Coordinator

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Filed under Interview, References, Resume

Do Your References Know That They Are Your References?

It is imperative when you are job searching that you alert your references, personal and professional, and tell them that you need their support. Remind them that you are job searching, tell them why you chose them, and make sure their contact information is updated. Although we are now deeply immersed in a world of texts, emails and social media, a phone call is still a very accepted means of communication. So do yourself a favor and call your references and thank them in advance for helping you to land a job and prepare them to be an effective spokesperson for you.

Tanika Hawkins

Career Connections Coordinator

Prosperity Center


Filed under Courtesy, Network, References