How To Ask For A Job Reference

Once you have your resume, do you have your job reference? Or rather, job references?

It used to be that including references with your resume was a part of the application process, but not anymore. Most career openings now require applicants to provide a list of references when requested, usually after an initial interview. It’s become a trend that your potential employers might not ask for lists of references in the initial application. This trend comes from disgruntled job candidates who failed to land new jobs have sued their reference providers for submitting negative evaluations to the employers with whom they’re trying to secure new employment.


How to Ask For Employment or Job Reference

Asking by email is less awkward for everyone. If they aren’t comfortable giving you one, it’s easier to both give (and get) that decline by email message instead of on the phone or in person. If that person is open to giving you a reference, then it’s polite of you to offer an updated copy of your resume, to share your LinkedIn profile, and to provide any extra information that person might need, such as about your employment history or skills. Taking the time to stay in touch and keep your references updated on your employment status can make a world of difference for you.


Asking for a LinkedIn Reference

LinkedIn makes it easy to request a recommendation through their messaging system. When you request the recommendation, make sure to ask the person if they can and if they have the time, so that they have an out if they’re not interested in giving you one. Some company policies don’t allow giving references and some colleagues feel they don’t know you well enough to comment on your work.


How Many References

The usual number employers expect is three, so keep at least three or four references ready to recommend you. That extra one is in case the employer can’t reach one of your other references.


Create a Reference List

Once you know who you’re going to contact, create a list with their full names, job titles, and contact information for each. Print this list off to bring to in-person interviews and to send to employers who specifically ask for references. Do not include references with your resume or give without being asked. The best time and place to give references is at the end of a personal interview after you’ve already acquired the employer’s interest, based on your resume and background.


Now that you have your job reference, what next? We have some related options:

How to Get an Excellent LinkedIn Reference

Types of Resumes and When to Use Them (With Examples)

7 Upskill Certificates To Improve Your Career