Providing Work References: Do’s & Don’ts

Most potential employers will ask for work references from your previous employers to confirm your work history and skills. It is important to provide the proper work references that will confirm your experience relating to the job you’re apply for as well as shed light on your relevant skills and character.

There are a certain do’s and don’ts that everyone should take into account when preparing their work references. Follow the tips below to secure fantastic references that will help land you your next job.

Work References: Do’s & Don’ts


hand-157251_1280Get Proper Reference Details

When providing a potential employer with your references make sure you include the proper information. This includes the reference’s full name, company, position (in relation to yours when you worked there), and phone number. Always include a business phone number and avoid any cell phone/personal phone numbers for your references.

Choose Your References Carefully

When choosing who to include as a reference be sure to pick people that are:

  • from recent jobs you’ve had
  • on good terms with you (your reference should want to say good things about you)
  • able to speak about your skills and experience with authority

Be sure to choose references that can support the work history/experience outlined on your resume as well as speak to your good character and skillset.

If you are unsure of how a reference would respond when asked questions about you, they should be left off of your reference list.

Keep in Touch with Your Reference Contacts

As stated above, no one wants to be caught off-guard with a phone call about someone they haven’t spoken to or worked with in years. If you are going to use someone as a reference make sure they know you are using their name and that you are actively looking for work.

If you start your job search again after taking a break make sure to reach out to your references and let them know they may start receiving calls about you, that way they can be fully prepared to answer any questions.


dislike-157252_1280Bother with Letters of Recommendation

There’s no need to provide an employer with a letter of recommendation. Now-a-days an employer will need to speak with your reference to verify your skills so a letter outlining what a great person you are will be useless until an employer can confirm it was written by your reference, which will result in a phone call.

Include References on Your Resume

There is no need to include references on your resume. An employer will call your references when they are in the final stages of deciding to hire you; this means that you have time to pick your references, notify them that someone may contact them, and provide the employer with your list once the next steps in the hiring process are taking place.

Forget to Say Thank You

Your references are taking the time out of their day to speak to an employer on your behalf. Be sure to acknowledge their contribution to the success of your career by writing a thank you note or placing a phone call to give your thanks.