How to Decide on References For a First Job

References can be a very powerful tool in your job search. Even if the employer does not request you give them references, always take a list of three with you into the interview.

Andrea Barger |
Andrea is our head of PR at Snagajob, where she’s focused on telling the world how we help hourly workers and employers. Her first hourly job was as a lifeguard.
Categories: Applying

Snagajob member, Jessica G. ran into a common problem when searching for jobs – needing references when you don’t have much work experience.

References can be a very powerful tool in your job search. Even if the employer does not request you give them references, always take a list of three with you into the interview. If the topic never comes up, offer them before you leave. However, many employers do require you submit references with your resume. So, what should you do if you have little or no work experience?

Jessica was looking for her first job and realized she had a network of people who could attest to the type of employee she would make.

“For references I listed 3 teachers that I’m on good personal terms with, that can talk about my work ethic and participation.”

Using a teacher is a great idea, Jessica! Make sure to only use the ones who you have a good relationship with (and where you are making good grades!). By showing the employer that you are a dedicated student, you are proving your willingness to learn. Enjoy your new job at Haagen-Dazs!

If you don’t have a few teachers you can call on, try using someone who’s observed your work ethic. Have you done any volunteer work? This not only counts as experience, but also gives you valuable references. Have you done any odd jobs, such babysitting or lawn care? Use your loyal customers as a reference.

Nicole on Yahoo Answers asked, “Can I use my fiancé as a reference?”

Hi Nicole, did you ever have a working relationship with your fiancé? If he was a former supervisor of yours, then list him as that, instead of fiancé. If not, then I wouldn’t recommend it. You want to use people who have directly viewed the way you work, whether it was in school, volunteering or the job itself.

Be sure you inform your references that you will be using them. It is not only the polite thing to do, it will also give them time to think about how to brag about you.

Do you have a reference in mind who you aren’t sure is appropriate? Comment below and we will let you know.

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