How should a young adult use references in a job application?

Personal Finance March 01, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

Potential employers want to know if you will be a reliable employee with strong character traits. One way they make these determinations about you is by asking questions of people who already know you. References can also be useful in other selection situations, such as for awards in which the selector wants to know if you are deserving and what sets you apart from other applicants.

When using references, first identify people to serve as references who know the quality of work you perform. Then share information with your reference about the application you’re making, your interest in being selected, and the characteristics you think best position you for success. Doing this will help your reference better assist you. If you list specific references, be sure to include their name, title, relationship to you, address, and telephone number with area code.

State whether a potential employer or an award committee will contact your reference, or whether you need the individual to write you a letter of reference. On a resume, you can use the notation "References Available Upon Request" rather than listing individuals.

Before you list anyone’s name as a reference, it is important to get permission. Ask references in person, by phone, or by letter. An e-mail request may be acceptable, too.

Potential references include teachers, coaches, counselors, 4-H leaders, 4-H agents, previous employers, or people for or with whom you have done volunteer work. These are people who are not related to you, who know you well enough to be able to answer questions about your abilities and personal characteristics, and with whom you have had positive experiences.

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