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- Not a "Good Fit"? What Does that Mean?
- Common Mistakes Made by Job Seekers
- Why job seekers should accept seasonal employment and/or volunteer work opportunities
- What can job seekers do to make a positive first impression?
- How can I avoid getting lost in the email resume shuffle, and make a personal connection to the hiring agent?
New to the area and need references?
I recently moved to this area, and haven’t had a chance to meet many people. Do you have any recommendations about contacts I should include in my reference list?
Probably most of the same people you had in your old location.
Generally, you use employers (past or present) as your first choice, and co-workers from your current or previous job as your second. Usually you don’t choose family and friends unless the employer asks for personal references: family and friends may not understand your industry. They also probably don’t want to support you very long, so there is a perception that they might say anything.
Who else might be a reference for you? Have you gone to school recently? Do you have children in school? Is there a teacher or administrator who would have something nice to say about you?
Have you done any volunteer work? People who volunteer with you can be even better references than people you work with for pay: your volunteer work is close to your heart and probably uses your best skills. Besides, you don’t have to do what you do as a volunteer.
Do you play any sports? Are your children on a team? Would your coach (or theirs) be a good reference?
Finally, don’t overlook the power of LinkedIn. You can ask your LinkedIn connections to write you a short paragraph about how well you do what you do. It’s a very powerful and valuable part of LinkedIn.
Don’t feel you have to limit yourself entirely to professional references, or even local ones. Look to people who know you and your capabilities. And remember that if you don’t ask, the answer is “no.”