Skip to content

Asking for a Reference

Written by Heather Sadlier, Employment Specialist with Next-Steps Employment Centre – Riverdale

Employers sometimes ask for a reference to confirm that you have the skills highlighted in your resume. Checking references is a crucial part of the hiring process and like all aspects of your job search they need be considered with care. Most employers will ask for three references.

Here are some tips to consider when asking for a reference:

  • Always check with your reference and ask for permission before providing that their contact information to the potential employer.
  • Keep in touch with your references. You should be in contact with your former managers, supervisors on a regular basis. Send them a quick email, text, or LinkedIn message.  Let them know how you are doing and ask them if there have been any changes in their careers.
  • Consider whether you have a good relationship with this person and ask clearly if they would be able to give you a positive reference, and can speak about your skills. Instead of asking: “Will you be a reference?” ask: “Do you think you know my work well enough to provide a positive reference? Do you feel comfortable being a reference for me?”

Reference Do’s:

  • Send your resume and the job posting to your reference.
  • Connect with your references regularly.
  • Ask permission to use your reference with each job you interview for.
  • Have more than 3 references available, just in case.
  • Prepare your list of references before you start job searching, so you are ready if you get a last minute invitation to a job interview.
  • Confirm with the potential employer, who can act as a reference for each employer: supervisors, managers, teachers, personal.
  • Create a reference list with the person’s name, job title, phone number, email address and your relationship to the employer, as requested.
  • Follow-up with your references after your interview to thank them, and stay updated if the employer has contacted them for the reference check.


For more information, job search assistance, workshops, resources, hiring events, and much more, visit

3 thoughts on “Asking for a Reference Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: