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How to Choose the Best Job References

Choosing References That Will Make You Look Good

Whether or not you think it's okay to lie on your resume, chances are you won't have a reference to back up any details beyond innocent embellishment. If you're a recent grad, the best references are your supervisors from internships and mentors from your major's department at school — believe me, as an entry-level applicant an employer will surely give them a call. Once you've been in the working world for a while, employers will usually contact your references and you should always offer a prospective employer your sheet of references, even if they don't ask for it. The Wall Street Journal published a list of the qualities an ideal reference should have. To see what they are please

  • People who you are certain think highly of you.
  • People who will take the request seriously and be prepared and thoughtful in their answers, even if you don’t have time to brief them beforehand (though building in time for a thorough briefing is a wise idea).
  • People who understand the context in which the reference is being given.
  • People who will know, intuitively, how to present any of your potential weaknesses as strengths.
  • People who express themselves well — either verbally or in writing, depending on which type of reference they will be giving.


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DreaAST DreaAST 9 years
cuba is right!
LuciLu LuciLu 9 years
my thoughts exactly, cuba. i always make sure to shoot them an email before listing them- just incase! :)
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
Good reminder, cubadog. It's no good to get a call out of the blue asking about someone you haven't worked with in a long time. I had that happen to me once, and I didn't even like the person who put my name down. I probably wasn't a very good reference- I was so caught off guard I must've sounded like an idiot.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
One thing I always do is I make sure the person is willing to be my reference. I always ask everytime I go on an interview things might change and you never know.
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