Who Should You Choose for Your Job References?

Hiring a new employee is a big deal for a company, so they want to learn as much as possible about their top-choice candidates. This means you can expect to be asked to provide a reference list if you’re being seriously considered for the job.

It’s best to have this list ready well before the interview, so you’re ready to hand it over upon request. The people that you choose to speak for you can literally make the difference between getting the job or not, so take this into careful consideration.

On the surface, it might seem obvious to choose friends and family, as they’re always eager to sing your praises — but don’t . Unless you’re specifically asked to provide character references, employers always want to hear from people who know you in a professional capacity.

Here’s a look at the best types of professional references to list.

Three People to Choose as Your Job References

Former Manager

Assuming you have a good relationship with a previous boss, this is the best type of reference. No one can speak to your work better than a former manager, and the fact that they think highly enough of you to help you get a new job says a lot. This will impress a potential employer, because they’ll assume you’ll also have a positive relationship with your new manager.

Former Colleagues

No one wants to hire someone who doesn’t get along with their peers, so having a former colleague vouch for you will look really good. Potential employers will like this, because they’ll be able to find out what it’s like to work alongside you and learn more about your skill set. Their words will hold a lot of weight, so make sure you can trust this person to speak highly of you.


If you’re relatively new to the workforce, asking a favorite teacher or professor to serve as a reference is a great idea. They’ll be able to discuss the skills you learned in their class and the kind of student you were. This is important, because it can offer telling insights as to the kind of employee you would be.

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