You know that small sentence at the bottom of your resume, Job references available upon request? First, delete it. It’s taking up valuable resume real estate, plus every hiring manager knows they can ask you for references.

Second, do you actually have a list of job references to supply if asked? Well, you need to. Not all perspective employers will ask for it, but if they do you want to be ready.

Here are some tips to choosing a job reference:

Select Someone Who Will Answer the Phone

If you ask a previous boss and he says that he’ll write a letter of recommendation and that’s it, then cross him off your list. Many HR departments want to speak to someone and ask specific questions. So try to find someone who is willing to do that for you. Typically they’ll only ask about 3-4 questions and they are set up to be positive; they know (and hope!) that you wouldn’t choose a reference who despises you.

Choose a Variety of References

Your overall goal is to find people who will give you the strongest recommendation. You want them to play up your accomplishments, skills, work ethic, etc. Whether that be a former supervisor, co-worker, professor or someone you once volunteered with, feel free to mix it up and not just choose your previous employer. Just don’t put your mother. Friends, coaches, former clients, other business acquaintances are all acceptable.

Be Organized

First things first, you want to ask the person to be your reference. Most will say yes, but be prepared for one or two people to decline. Then you want to get the following information from them:

  • Full name
  • Current company
  • Title
  • Company address
  • Phone number
  • Email address

For more job search tips, remember there is always a professional staffing company willing to help you. If you’re located in Dallas-Fort Worth and are in the IT industry, check out Maxsys Solutions.