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New to the area and need references?

The Hiring Process Interviewing Strategies


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.” 

About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.