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Gathering Professional References for Your Job Search

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You're confident about the majority of your resume, but maybe the idea of submitting professional references to a potential employer is intimidating. Use our guide and to help build a strong list of references for a smoother job search process.

The Importance of Professional References

It's vital to be selective when choosing your professional references. Only include people who can give actual insight into your achievements, strengths, work style, and work ethic. Examples of people you can name as professional references include your former employers, colleagues, supervisors, and teachers.

Tips When Compiling References

Ask yourself these pointed questions if you're torn between a few possible references or don't know where to start:

  • Who have I worked under or closely with in the past five years?
  • How did they know you and will they give a relevant reference?
  • Do they know your strengths?
  • Will they recommend you or hinder your application?

Once you've compiled your list of references, keep these etiquette guidelines in mind when reaching out to them.

  1. Get their permission. Contact each name on your list to ask if they're comfortable being listed as a professional reference.
  2. Confirm their availability. Once you have their permission, let them know that you've recently put them down as a reference and to expect a call within the next one to two weeks. Inform them of the position you applied for and your recent endeavors. Confirm whether they will be available for the call.
  3. Follow up with a thank you. Regardless of whether you get the job or not, remember to call or send an email to each reference and thank them for taking the time to recommend you.

Gathering strong professional references is just one aspect of landing your dream career. Tulane School of Professional Advancement offers full degree programs, certificates, and career development to help strengthen your resume and professional network. Explore our complete list of academic programs and take the next step today!

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