5 References Your Résumé Needs
Hey there and welcome back to Lettered in the Sky; I’m so excited you’re here! I wanted to chat about something that is often an after-thought in the internship or job application process: REFERENCES.
A reference can make or break an employment or internship offer, so it is super important to put care and thought into who you’re choosing to list. While many places only require three references, it’s a good idea to have more than that in your back pocket or toolbox so you can tailor the three that you do list to each specific application. To help you brainstorm who to ask, check out the five types of references your resume needs below!
A former employer
This one is very obvious, but you need to list a former employer or supervisor on your resume. Application reviewers will think it’s weird if you don’t include one, so make sure you have someone you can use. Now, it doesn’t necessarily need to be your current supervisor, especially if you’re doing a confidential search, but if you can list your most recent supervisor, that would be just as beneficial.
Including a current or former colleague in your list of references can also be helpful. While, I wouldn’t suggest it be your work husband/wife, I think it would be appropriate to ask someone who has a role in the similar level as you, but may not do exactly what you do. They can speak to how you enhance the work environment, how you work as a team and how you respond to certain situations. Because they typically see you across situations, they can provide a realistic look at what you’re like as a colleague.
A project supervisor
If you’ve worked on a large project or campaign, it would be appropriate for you to ask someone who worked closely or supervised the project to be a reference for you. They can share how task-oriented and big-picture your thinking is, which a lot of employers are looking for. Nowadays, it isn’t just about having big ideas, it’s also about following through with those ideas and executing them well, so someone who saw you succeed in a large project could be a great recommender for you!
A former client
Very similar to the one above, listing a former client as a reference can be really impactful. Especially if you are a freelancer, your clients are your references because they can speak to so many things about your work personality: customer service, communication skills, techniques pertaining to the job and so much more.
Someone in a similar position
This may seem like a stretch, but hear me out. If you have someone in your company or who’ve you worked with previously that has seen your work ethic and skills that’s also in a similar position to what you’re applying for, consider adding them as a reference. They know firsthand the skills and work ethic that is necessary to succeed in that position. If they know about your work experience and personality, then ask them if they’d be willing to be a reference for you. It may just be the thing that helps your application rise to the top!
There you have it - the five different types of references you should have in your toolbox for job/internship/committee applications. Have a more in-depth question about references? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat some more!