Searching for a job in today’s world is a very competitive task to undertake. While most of us like to think that obtaining a good job is more about our skills and qualifications than whom we know, this is not always the case. Therefore, the references that you add to your resume may be very well just as important to the potential employer as the skills that you list under your qualification section.
When thinking about the people that you will use as references for your job search, think more about the people that can positively contribute to your employment search rather then simply finding people that you know. Consider listing three to five people that can all add to different areas of your personality.
Add someone who will contribute greatly to your work ethic, education, skills, or other areas pertaining specifically to you as an employee or student. In many cases, a former supervisor, boss, or even teacher is listed to comment on this aspect of your life. Friends may be listed on the reference list to add to your personal character. However, family members are not a good choice. For personal character, preachers or members of your church are also good choices. Using a former customer or client as a reference can add to give detail about your work quality.
When choosing your references, think about people that will stand out and gain attention from the specific future employer. Try to avoid using generic references with every application and resume. For example, consider using someone you know that has an interest in the company you are applying. This may be someone who works there, is a shareholder, or a financial contributor. Also look for people that can contribute to the specific skills needed for the job. If you are applying for a nursing job, use references from your nursing school, clinical training, or former nursing jobs that can add positively about your skills as a nurse.
Keep in mind that you want to use people that know you well enough to add detail about you when called upon. You want someone that can say more than simply he or she is a good worker. The more specific positive detail a reference can say about you the better.
When adding reference to your resume, never list them on the same page along with all of your personal information. References belong on a separate sheet. Always wait to turn in a reference list and/or reference letters when they are requested. Some employers want references up front and others want to narrow down resumes before seeking out opinions from references.
Choosing the references you will use on your resume is an important and critical decision. Always have a purpose for selecting the people that you add to your resume reference list. In addition, always gain the permission and feedback from the person you list before turning in the resume.