Your prospective employer may or may not care about your job references, but you have no way of knowing that. You don’t ever want to get caught with false information or with a reference that doesn’t give a good report. So, while it may be tempting to blow it off, you need to make sure you have people who can give you the best references now. Here are a few ideas:
A Good Supervisor
When you are looking for a reference, your immediate supervisor should be one of your first choices. They have worked closely with you, and they know what you are capable of. Hopefully, you also know what kind of things that they will say about you. Make sure that you choose a manager that you have gotten along well with. You can even list supervisors from jobs other than your most recent, but make sure that it is in a timely manner. If you worked with a supervisor more than two or three years ago, they probably aren’t the best bet. It is also recommended that you let your supervisor know that you are using them as a reference so they aren’t caught off guard.
A College Professor
If you recently graduated and have a college professor that you worked closely with, they are also a great person to ask for a reference. The professor can give a reference based on your work ethic, any projects you worked on with them, and your enthusiasm for a subject. Once again, make sure that you contact your professor before listing them as a reference. The professor may ask you to provide some information about the job you are applying for, or you may need to refresh their memory of you. Nothing would be worse than having your prospective employer start verifying your references and have your professor not remember you.
A Long-Term Friend
As a rule, having friends as your references is not the best idea. Many employers will see this as a sign of laziness or that you cannot find a professional contact to vouch for you. However, if you choose to have a friend as your reference, you can make it seem more legitimate. Try and choose a friend who has a higher standing in the community or a professional community that you have known for at least 5 years. LinkedIn can be a great reference for finding a connection that can endorse you, even if they have not worked at the same company as you.
Clubs and Organizations
If you are a member of any clubs or organizations, consider asking fellow members or other leaders for a reference. The clubs and organizations that you belong to say a lot about you as a person and a reference from these organizations can give your potential employer a well-rounded view of you as an individual.
Whoever you choose to include as references, make sure you get permission from them. The best way to get a good reference is to be prepared for this eventuality and to prep your references. This way, you can be sure to get a glowing review to assist you in landing your dream job.