Who Should You Choose As Your Professional References?

Many job applications ask you to list one or more people as professional references. Whether you have years of job experience or are just starting out, narrowing this list down to the right two or three individuals can be tough. Who should you ask to vouch for you to a hiring manager?

Here’s how to decide which people to put on your list of professional references.
1. Focus on the word “professional.”
Professional references are just that – professional. In other words, people who know you in a personal capacity, like your family and friends, should be excluded from the list.

You don’t have to eliminate a former supervisor, teacher or co-worker from the list simply because they have also become a friend, however. Instead, consider whether your friendship is now stronger than that professional connection, or if this person is still a professional contact first and a friend second.

For the purposes of your reference list, former teachers count as professional context. They’ve seen you in a setting where you had to solve problems and get work finished correctly. Choose a teacher who knew your work well.

2. Choose supervisors when you can.
Hiring managers ask for references because they want to speak to somebody who can provide a leader’s perspective on your work. They’re curious about how you worked in comparison to other people on the job, and how your work fit into the goals of the organization as a whole.

While a co-worker can provide some insight into how you did your job from day to day, they may not be able to provide the entire picture that the hiring manager seeks. By choosing at least one former supervisor to put on your list, you’re helping ensure that the hiring manager gets all the information they need to put you at the top of their list.

3. When in doubt, ask for advice.
Your recruiter can help you narrow down your list of references and choose the ones who will help you stand out to employers. Your recruiter can also serve as a reference in certain contexts by connecting you to employers who already know and trust your recruiting team.

Eclipse Professional Services supports companies through out North Texas with Skilled Industrial Labor in the Logistics, Manufacturing and Warehousing skills sets on Temp To Hire basis. Contact us at 214.331.7502, if you are looking for new opportunities or to increase the capacity of your work force.

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