How to choose the right job references

Employers will often call a reference person to hear their impression of you. Here are some things about references for you to think about.

Choose references carefully

A reference person should be someone who knows you well, preferably through work. Your references should, for example, be able to describe what role you have taken in groups, how you have handled challenges and other job situations. Two or three names should be enough. Adapt your choice of persons to the job you are applying for. You can also use teachers, supervisors or association contacts, for example, as references. But never use your friends or relatives, that is perceived as unserious.

Ask first

Always ask the people you want to refer to if it is OK to use them as references. Also tell them what job you are applying for. Also ask them what they would say about you if an employer calls, so that you are prepared for it. If the person has been a reference before you can email to alert them that you are applying for a job again. Also check that their contact details and position are still correct.

Keep things in good order

Many choose to write “References can be provided on request” on their CVs. If you go to many interviews that can be good, so that your references are not phoned too often. You can write your references neatly on a sheet of paper and take it to the job interview. Describe what position or relationship each person has to you. Don’t forget the contact details! You can also prepare an email with your references which you can quickly and easily send to the employer after the interview.

Get help from your references – and thank them

Get help from your references before you write your application to get inspiration. Ring them up and ask: How would you describe me? Or try to imagine what your references think about you. Often quite a lot occurs to you when you imagine what others would have said. Look on your references as part of your professional network. And don’t forget to thank them for helping you!

Written reference

Sometimes it is good to be able to show a document that describes your abilities and work efforts. This can be a good idea if you have worked abroad and the employer could be difficult to get in touch with or difficult to understand on the telephone. Via the written reference, the recruiter can still see what the reference person thought.