Your Guide to Choosing the Best Reference

Are you looking for a basic introduction to choosing the correct references for your job search? While you can’t entirely take References 101 at your local college, we can provide some basics to help you put your best foot forward. Here is your guide to references as you begin your job search.

Types of References

There are two general types of references you may be asked to provide or choose to include. They are professional and personal references. Here’s a breakdown of the differences.


A professional reference is most common when looking for a job. It’s a person you’ve worked with in the past and can be a manager, human resources representative, or even a coworker.


A personal reference is someone who knows you outside of work. It can be a friend or maybe a professor or someone who can speak to your character, which is why they are sometimes referred to as a character reference.

For the most part, you’ll want to choose a professional reference, but there are instances where adding a personal connection is helpful. If you don’t have much professional experience, including a personal reference, such as a trusted professor, can help you get started.

Who To Contact

Before you submit references to a potential employer, you want to make sure you let each person know and get their permission to provide their information. Contact people you’ve worked with directly, especially managers with whom you had a positive working relationship.

How to List Your References

It’s no longer acceptable to list references directly on a resume. You no longer have to include “References available upon request” either, as it’s expected you will be providing this information. Instead, you want to create a new document you will give the hiring manager once they ask. Include whatever information your references are comfortable with, such as phone number or email address. When you do, reach out to each reference again to inform them to expect a call or email.

Are you looking for your next opportunity? The team at NRI Staffing can help, so call now.


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