Employment Expertise: Choosing strong references


By West Michigan Works!


Personal references bring your resume to life through stories. Most hiring managers call references after the interview, so make sure to prepare your references during your job search. Use these 4 P’s as a guide to choosing strong references:

Double-check the contact information for your references your interview. You wouldn’t want the hiring manager to call a disconnected phone number. Outdated contact information also shows the employer you haven’t kept in touch with that person.

Keep your references professional. Don’t use friends or family members (even if your dad is your boss). Choose references who know details about projects you worked on or how you deal with conflict. If you’re part of a company with multiple locations, don’t use the CEO as a reference. Choose an assistant manager or team leader who can give examples of your day-to-day work ethic.

Before you give a name and number to a hiring manager, contact that person and ask for their permission. At that time, you can give them details of the jobs you’re applying for. Let them know what experiences you would like them to highlight.

Once you land an interview, be sure to contact your references. Let them know they can expect a call within a certain time frame. This allows them to plan ahead or let you know if they’re unable to take the call.

Give them as much information as you can: who may call, what job it’s for and what organization.

Lastly, be thankful
Every time you use your references, it’s important to thank them for their time. It’s also a good time to provide a follow-up to your interview: Did you get the job? Or are you pursuing other prospects? Either way, they’ll be happy to hear from you!

Employment Expertise is provided by West Michigan Works! Learn more about how they can help: visit westmiworks.org or your local Service Center.