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Tips for Getting References

You will need to supply references when you apply for a job. Once you have three or four people who have agreed to give you references, type up a list, including each person's name, title and company, address, phone number, and e-mail address. Make several copies, and take them with you to job interviews. If people give you written letters of reference, make copies and provide them along with your list of references when you go to a job interview. Remember to keep the originals in your job hunting file so you'll have them in the future.

Make sure that the people who give you references will give you good references. How do you ask? Click here for an example of a Letter to a Potential Reference. Who do you ask? The following list offers some suggestions:

Ask Your Boss
If you've been a reliable worker and are leaving your job on good terms, your boss will probably agree to give you a reference. It's perfectly acceptable to ask for a letter of reference when you give your notice, but if your boss is disappointed that you are leaving, you might wait a few days to ask. Don't be surprised if your boss asks you to write your own letter of reference. It actually happens more often than you might think. Be honest, and be positive. Click here for an example of a Business Reference Letter.

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Ask Your Teachers
If you don't have a job, or you haven't had many jobs, your teachers might be a good source of references. Think about teachers you have developed a rapport with, and those whose classes you have done will in. Because you see them every day, it's fine to ask for a reference in person. If you've been a good student, most teachers will be happy to help. If you've already graduated, write a letter to your former teacher to ask for a reference.

Ask Your Counselor
If you have developed a rapport with your guidance counselor, he or she might be a good source of a reference. Counselors have access to your academic records and probably know about the activities you've participated in during school, so they are in a good position to comment on your reliability and attitude. Once again, ask in person if you feel comfortable doing so, or with a polite letter.

Ask A Community Member
Think about other adults who have gotten to know you well and who could comment on qualities you possess that employers desire: promptness, cooperation, respect, flexibility, and a positive attitude. It might be a community leader, a club leader, or even a family friend. Click here for an example of a Personal Reference Letter.

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