References available upon request

Posted: July 24, 2007 in Blogging, blogroll, Blogs I'm reading!, F4Y Picks, Family, Finance For Youth, Friends, Jobs, Life, Relationships, School, Working

Every employer will ask for references. Especially since you have little or no previous work experience, the references you provide will be important. Initially, many young people don’t even think about references, and when they see the application, they scramble to ask relatives to say nice things about them. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work well because most (all) applications specify that the references cannot be related to you. A smart choice would be to have people who know you from school (teachers, counselors), the community (religious advisers, community officials), or volunteer organizations you help at.

Asking someone to be a reference for you can be touchy. In a very real sense, you are asking someone to put their reputation on the line for you. You are asking this person with very limited knowledge of how you will perform to vouch for the fact that you will perform well. For this reason, I’ve found some people have reservations about being a reference. You need to ask delicately if someone is willing to act as a reference, and you need to make it super clear that they don’t have to, and you won’t be hurt if they don’t. Be very clear that you aren’t asking them to say nice things, but to be honest about your performance in front of them, and the likelihood that your performance will continue to be the same for the employer. Allow them time to think about it if they need it, and never act offended if they hesitate.

One reason why someon might not want to be a reference for you is because they feel that you will be disappointed and will blame them if you don’t get selected. Another is because they don’t feel comfortable enough that you won’t let them down. Either way, if they are willing to do this favor (and that is what it is!!), treat people with respect, dignity, and gratitude.

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Comments
  1. I love that quote…:

    “…You need to ask delicately if someone is willing to act as a reference, and you need to make it super clear that they don’t have to, and you won’t be hurt if they don’t. . ”

    Thank you very much 🙂

  2. Wil says:

    MP-

    Thanks for reading and for the comment! I think that many people are leary of acting as a reference for someone else because they feel obligated. If they do give a letter, the letter is so non-committal that it becomes useless. If people were allowed to feel free to say ‘no’, the references they would give would be more honest, accurate, and valuable.

  3. […] back in 2007, we started a conversation about references. Back THEN, I told you one part of asking for references. In a nutshell, we discussed the importance of being […]

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