Monday, September 21, 2009

Selecting Professional References

+Select teachers, professors, colleagues, managers and other "persons of authority" who know your strengths and your work ethic. Generally, if you second guess whether or not to ask someone to be a reference, then you should probably find another reference.

+Remember: you do not want a run-of-the-mill recommendation. One phrase you may want to use when asking for a recommendation letter is: "Would you be willing to write a strong recommendation letter for me?" If they cannot provide a strong recommendation then you should find another reference.

+You may want to have different references for different job applications. For example, if you worked in sales previously and are applying for a business/sales related job then it may be best to have your previous sales manager provide a strong recommendation.

+Finally and most importantly, consult your reference before listing the reference on a job application unless there is a previous agreement.


  1. These are excellent points. Be very careful not to cross or blur the line between personal and professional reference when applying for a job. It is a serious pet peeve of many employers.

  2. Thank you for adding this because it is a crucial point. There is a difference between a personal and a professional reference. Professional references are most likely previous employers who can speak positively about your work. A personal reference may be a mentor or someone in your community who knows you well enough to speak of your character.