How to get a job referencejob reference | ultimate job reference guide

Read our ultimate job reference guide!

In today’s world almost every job will require you to have a couple of strong job references so don’t be afraid to ask people if they would be a referee for you, particularly if they can give you a glowing job reference.  However, do you know what a job reference is, how to ask for a job reference, how many you need and who to approach for a job reference?

Our how to get a job reference guide will tell you how…

What are job references?

A reference is a testimonial from a current or former employer who can vouch for your experience, skills, attributes, team skills and character.  References can be in written form or sought verbally to check that you’ve been 100% genuine and truthful on your CV and will meet the needs and fulfil the expectations demanded in the new role you’ve applied for.

How many job references should I have?

In the main, it is advisable to have at least two solid job references, unless you are in a profession that dictates otherwise.

Who can be a reference?

You should always ask people you trust and know well to act as a reference, this could be former or current manager, business owner, a colleague or even a client you have worked closely with.  Ideally, it will be someone who knows you and your work ethos who is able to give an unbiased report on your personality, demeanour, work standard and performance.

If you are newly qualified or have just left school without any work experience, you could ask your tutor, teacher, professor or head of department to act as a reference.

Who can’t be a reference?

It is not recommended to use a friend or family member to act as a reference.  Unless you are specifically asked for a ‘personal reference’, ‘professional references’ should be from professionals so ask someone you know in an academic or employment capacity.

Do I need to formally ask someone to be a reference?

It’s common courtesy to contact the people you’d like to act as references before you put forward their details to prospective employers.  Whilst you may think they will give you a glowing job reference, they may not be so accommodating if they are caught off guard and are not expecting the call.

In the main, it’s nice if you can approach the people personally, either face-to-face or over the phone. That way, you can give them an indication of the roles you have applied for and the job description so they can be forearmed with positive information on your performance and personality.  If you’d like to use someone you don’t see often or who is too busy to meet you, a polite email  or job reference request letter is generally advised.

Where do I put job references on a CV?

In simple terms, you don’t put job references on a CV!

Long ago, it was common practice to include contact details for references.  However, due to the Data Protection Act we advise against the inclusion of full reference details and suggest you state that references are available on request.  This is widely accepted because the vast majority of employers don’t require reference details unless you’ve been successful at the interview.

When do I submit my references?

It’s advisable to draft up a job reference sheet before you go to an interview.  That way, if you ace the interview and get offered the job, you can hand over your job reference details to speed up the process.  It will demonstrate how keen you are to start and that you have excellent planning and organisational skills.

How do I format a job reference sheet?

We’ve already drafted some great blog posts outlining how to write and format a job reference sheet, read these blog posts for more information and get a free job reference page template.