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Job references can make or break your job hunt.

Whether you're looking for a job that will launch your career or just looking for something temporary, there's one thing you'll want to have ready: job references.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this step! According to a survey by CareerBuilder, nearly 70 percent of employers have changed their mind about a possible job candidate because of the input shared by a reference. Make sure you choose yours well and follow these tips for ensuring they give you a glowing report. A good reference can help you land that dream job and could even influence the salary you're offered.

You can list any of the following people as a job reference:

  • Former employers
  • Extracurricular activity advisers
  • College administrators
  • College professors
  • Professional acquaintances

Here are four steps to ensure the best recommendation possible:


Step 1: Ask for permission

Don’t list a college professor, former employer or anyone else as a job reference before asking their permission. Your reference may prefer not to be listed. It’s also respectful to ask their permission before including their name on an application. This also gives them a chance to think about what they would say about you so they aren't caught off-guard when a potential employer calls!

Step 2: Collect important details about the reference

While asking for permission to list a reference, verify their contact information and details. You’ll need the full name of each reference you list, as well as their official title, phone number, email and mailing address. Having this all ready in a document to provide to a potential employer will show that you're prepared and organized — both good qualities in the professional world!

Step 3: Prepare your references

It’s best to share your employment goals and the particulars of your job search with your references. Tell them about the specific skills you hope to use in your future job, important projects you’ve worked on in the past and anything else that might be helpful for them to know. Provide each reference with a copy of your resume to make it easier for them to remember your personal details.

Step 4: Keep your references updated during your job search

Let your references know when you’ve applied for a job so they’re prepared for a phone call or email from your potential employer. They will be more likely to give you a positive reference when they know to expect an inquiry about you. It’s also respectful for you to share with them when you’ve landed a job and to thank them for their assistance in the process!

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