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How should I think about my references?

How should I think about my references?
How should I think about my references?

When a recruiter asks for your references, you can start by congratulating yourself. You have not only managed to send in a really good CV and taken yourself to a job interview, you have also made a really good impression on the recruiter! You are therefore highly relevant in the recruitment process when it is time for the reference taking. I think about my references.

Which references should I choose?

The references you choose to provide should be able to confirm in an informative way how you are as a person, in professional and work-related situations. Your references should be able to describe how you have chosen to act in certain situations in the workplace, what role you have taken in groups and how you have handled any challenges.

Examples of good references are employers, supervisors, human resources managers, your store manager and so on. If your latest work is in line with the service you are applying for now, it is smart to use the latest reference. But again, the most important thing is that the person can describe you and what you have done.

For those of you who are completely new to the labor market, examples of good references include the supervisor for your degree project, a contact at the company where you wrote the dissertation or someone responsible for the study project you were involved in or the labor market fair you worked with.

And what references should I avoid?

It is never good to leave a close relative: mother, father or cohabitant, that’s all.

It is also not a good idea to leave someone unaware that you are using them. It is always a more difficult conversation for the recruiter to take and your reference person may end up in an awkward position where he or she may have difficulty remembering you and your tasks. So prepare the people you want to leave as a reference – often an email is enough.

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Leaving a reference that is less positive to you sounds like an obvious warning bell, but it does not have to be. Maybe you just got an abrupt conclusion but you know that the person can still reproduce a very detailed and good picture of your previous tasks. Then do not be afraid to ask the person and at the same time tell the recruiter that you yourself are aware that you had a less successful conclusion and explain what it was due to.

When during the process should I submit my references?

You only leave your references when the recruiter asks for them. Then you get a chance to prepare your references for a possible interview and if you have several references, you also get the opportunity to choose who is most suitable for the job you are looking for.

How many references are reasonable to provide?

Feel free to prepare three different references. It is good if you want to highlight several parts of your background. It is also smart if the reference is on holiday, parental leave or for some other reason is not available for a longer period. But if you only have two references that fit, you leave them.

Do not forget to prepare the reference!

No matter who you choose to list as your reference, the A and O is to prepare this! Partly because your reference sometimes needs time to remember who you are, but also see it as a way for you to continuously keep in touch with your professional network. Is it a reference where you have a statement “it’s okay that you use me as a reference”, update the person about the process you are currently in by sending an email. Also make sure that the person is still available to contact on the number you have and is available to the recruiter. Cherish your references as part of your professional network – and don’t forget to thank them afterwards!