Tips on CV References
The function of a reference is to confirm that you are a good employee and that the credentials you have listed on your CV are all factual.
References are only required at the very end of the recruitment process. A job offer needs to be made and only then after you accept an offer will references usually be requested. However, it is important to give some thought to choosing your referees.
Who to Choose
The general rule is to give referees from your most recent two roles as they will generally be most relevant. You can also request someone associated with the position you have been in the longest in your career. It is a given that you should get a reference that will reflect most favourably on you.
Recommendations don't just have to come from your paid, professional positions. If you have any involvement in continued education, volunteering or community work, supervisors or peers in those roles will be able to provide references, too. However, avoid using acquaintances or family friends who haven't had any exposure to you in a work-related setting.
As a matter of courtesy, speak to your referee before you nominate them to ensure that they are happy to be a referee. Be sure that you are clear on how their reference will endorse you. Inform them of the type of jobs which you are applying for and when to expect a call from a prospective employer. If you have a strong relationship with them, you can also guide them on the areas you would like them to highlight in the reference.
Don’t forget to thank your referees for taking the time to do this and afterwards let them know if you secure the job. You may need their help again in the future.
Get Several References
Gather a pool of multiple potential references. Having a larger pool will allow you to choose references strategically based on the different requirements of each job. Match your selection of references to the requirements of the job at hand. Which of your references can provide the most compelling evidence that you have the qualities to undertake the job for which you apply.
Update Reference List Periodically
Add new supporters and move individuals off your list if they seem less than enthusiastic, or if a lot of time has passed since you've worked with them. Take the time to follow up to let your references know the status of your job search, and advise them when you get a new position.
Taking the above points into consideration, the most important task is still drafting a good CV that will get you that all-important interview.
For more helpful information to support your job search, see our Job Seeking Tips.