What To Consider When Selecting Job References

Oct 4, 2016

When applying for a job, having good job references is essential. It’s one of the most important ways to build confidence in a prospective employer. But, if you’ve had many jobs or you’re new to the workforce, choosing who to use for job references can be a tough decision. Especially since the people you select as job references are helping you put your best foot forward and launch your career. It’s critical to choose wisely.

Why include job references? Who to use for job references? Answers to all that and more are ahead.

Importance of Providing Job References 

Remember that job references are a supplemental part of your entire application package. Choosing people who can convey your background, skills, personality, and interests can help you get the job.

From finding a position that matches your skill set to arriving on time for the interview—each step of the job search process matters. At Friday Services, we’ve been helping workers find great jobs in Western North Carolina for almost 36 years, and our team knows this process well.

Choosing Good Job References

Remember, your job references are about providing evidence that what you say in your application or resume is accurate. It’s providing proof or third-party endorsement of what you claim about yourself. That said, you always want to select someone who knows your worth. It could be a spiritual advisor, former work associate, teacher, or someone you volunteered with in your community. Just think about people in your life who can speak to the great things you bring to the table—that’s who to use for a job reference.

People Who Know Your Work History

Choose people who can speak about different parts of your work history. References can expect to describe their relationship with you and a description of your past duties. If possible, select people who worked with you in different capacities. Perhaps you have one person in mind who can speak to your technical skills as a forklift operator under their supervision. Another person could speak to your leadership skills in another position you held.

Contacts Who Can Speak To Your Character

If you are a recent college or high school graduate with no work experience, don’t worry. Since most employers will not accept a personal reference, such as a family member or friend, think about someone for whom you completed tasks. Is there a teacher, preacher, coach, or mentor who knows you well? Perhaps you mowed a neighbor’s lawn for several summers or earned good grades in a particular course. Think of someone who can attest to your punctuality and character. Employees who show up on time and ready to work are very desirable in the competitive market.

Give Your Job References the Heads-Up

Alert your reference so that they may be contacted as you search for a job. Before listing anyone as a job reference, check in with them. This communication gives them a heads-up that they may be contacted and also helps them brainstorm what they might say in your favor. It’s also a good practice to thank them for your job reference. Send them a card or give them a call and express your appreciation for their time.

Make Sure You Have Accurate Contact Details

Don’t forget to make sure the contact information for the job references is up to date. If it’s been a few years since you’ve contacted your reference, their email address or phone number may have changed. Ensuring that you provide the most relevant contact information in your application saves Friday’s staff time and helps streamline the hiring process.

Got your job references? Now what?

How Friday Staffing Uses Job References

While providing a resume may be an optional part of the job application process, job references are typically a requirement. Friday Services will contact your job references (at least two) as part of your application process. Also, note that providing extra references can always help. Going the extra mile shows you are serious. Generally speaking, the best references are authority figures who can vouch for your work ethic and character.

If you are ready to get started today, take a look at all of the currently available positions on our job listings page, and then fill out our online application. To keep the process efficient, it’s a good idea to completely answer all the questions on the form. After you submit your application, a member of Friday’s team will review and make contact with you as soon as possible, always within 24 business hours. Take a look at our FAQs and reach out to the Friday Services office nearest you with any questions.


If you see a lot of potential in yourself – so do we! Start your job search and learn about the opportunities and benefits offered.


Friday Services is independent and locally owned. We offer Western North Carolina employers strategic flexibility with greater attention to detail.