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Resumes and cover letters get you into the interview; good references can get you the job.

If an employer is considering you for a position it is very likely that they will speak with the references you have provided or contact a previous employer. They know that the best indicator of future performance is past performance so you have to be sure that your references will help you close the deal. Select your references very carefully.

To identify as many potential references as possible, consider current or former bosses, co-workers and subordinates, professors, or volunteers who have first-hand knowledge of your work and abilities. Roommates, friends and family members do not make good references unless you have worked with them in a professional relationship. Remember, the employer wants to know about your work habits and abilities.

Next, call or meet with your potential references and explain that you are beginning a job search and ask if they would be willing to act as a reference for you. Let them know what kind of position you are seeking and the skills that are being sought. Provide each reference with a copy of your resume so they can be familiar with your experiences.

HOW MANY – You will generally be asked to provide three to five references.

WHERE – Do not include references on your resume. Create a separate reference page with your name listed at the top. Include reference's name, current title, agency or organization, address, work phone number, e-mail address and best time of day to call (if possible). You should also list your relationship to the individual. If your reference has moved on to a new organization you might include a note explaining your association. Be sure everything is correct!

WHEN – Provide your reference list to a potential employer only when requested.

Be sure to thank your references once you succeed in your job search.


References for Ima Roadrunner

John Smith
Joe's Restaurant
555 Nowhere Blvd
San Antonio, TX 78249
Direct supervisor for 3 years worked at restaurant.

Dr. Mary Hope, Associate Professor
UTSA, College of Liberal & Fine Arts
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249
Took three upper-division psychology courses with Dr. Hope.

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