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Who would be a good person to provide as a reference?

Before beginning your search, select three to five individuals to serve as professional references. Who you select will obviously vary with the situation, but keep in mind the following:

  • Select people who know you well and can speak knowledgeably about your professional and personal attributes.
  • Select people who will be extremely positive about you.
  • Several references should be former bosses who can comment on your work performance.
  • In most cases, employers prefer several people who can discuss recent events.
  • References who hold senior positions often carry more credibility - providing they meet the other criteria.
  • Other things being equal, references who are very articulate can be especially effective salespeople for you.
If you have more than three to five people who can effectively serve as your reference-- great! That way, you can vary the names you supply depending on the type of position or organization. However, keep the list provided to each employer brief.
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