Neal Kaplan I'm a director of technical communications working for a data analysis startup in Redwood City. I started as a technical writer, and since then I've also been learning about information architecture, training, content strategy, and even something about customer support. I'm also passionate about cross-team collaboration and user communities.

What are considered personal references?

2 min read

A personal reference is a person who has not worked with you but can give you a description of your values, integrity, character and goals. You can choose from many parts of your life, including volunteering, school, personal associations and longstanding friends.

What will I be asked as a personal reference?

Similar to professional references, a list of personal references should be presented to a potential employer with the following information: the reference’s name, job title and company (even if they’re not someone you’ve worked with), phone number and email address.

Is a coworker a personal reference?

That co-worker is a professional reference, not a personal one, because he knows what your management style is like on the job, what your job skills are, and what your career development needs are.

How do I choose a personal reference?

  • It’s a good idea to avoid references that are too personal.
  • Aim for a wide range of references.
  • It’s important that you’re on good terms with your references.
  • People who are easy to communicate with.
  • Keep your references up to date.

Who should I put as a personal reference?

Who should provide them? Teachers, lecturers, club leaders, neighbours, friends and family members are some of the people who give personal references. The person giving the reference should know you and be able to give examples that back up your statements.

How should you choose your reference?

  • Please ask for permission.
  • Ask them for their contact information.
  • You should prepare your job references.
  • People who can attest to your abilities are a good choice.
  • Common ground is found.
  • Ask your supervisor if you need to.
  • Ask someone you work with.
  • Ask your teacher.

A hiring manager may ask for a list of professional references if you make it far in the interview process. Your former manager, supervisor or colleague can speak about your work ethic, character and skills in job references.

If a hiring manager asks for references when you apply for a job, have a list of them. Even if you have a good relationship with someone you want to ask, they may not be comfortable giving you a job reference. Asking them instead of just giving a manager their contact information shows your respect. Asking for permission in advance increases your chances of getting a positive referral.

If you go further in the interview process, make sure your references have the materials they need, such as a copy of your resume and portfolio samples. If you’re applying for a job, you can tell them about your recent projects and accomplishments.

It is possible to let the hiring manager know why you applied for the job. Selecting people who can speak positively about your work ethic, skills, and character will allow hiring managers to see what valuable contributions you could make to the company. If the latter is the case, you can give a reference to the hiring manager once you have an offer.

Ask your professor for a reference if they taught a subject that relates to your field or the job you’re applying for. If you spend enough time with your advisor or school counselor, you can ask them. Since the hiring manager likely knows them and trusts their opinion, having an inside connection can increase your chances of getting the job. It’s important to find people who can provide you with a good recommendation since it can influence a hiring manager’s opinion of you.

Make sure the references you give cover your personality and relevant job qualifications. Employers don’t usually ask for more than three references, but having a large group to choose from can help you find the best fit.

You can add and remove individuals from your reference list as you progress in your career. If you have a group of individuals who can provide you with a referral based on your skills and experience, you will have a better chance of getting it.

Inform them that they may get a call from a hiring manager if you advance in the interview process. You might end up second-guessing some of your choices if you run through your network for the best people to approach for listing as references. If you haven’t spoken with a potential reference in a while, it’s a good idea to remind them of your name, your previous job title or what you worked on together. You can ask, “Would you be willing to serve as a reference for a job where I’m applying?”

The name, job title, company and contact information for each of your references will be included in the list.

Neal Kaplan I'm a director of technical communications working for a data analysis startup in Redwood City. I started as a technical writer, and since then I've also been learning about information architecture, training, content strategy, and even something about customer support. I'm also passionate about cross-team collaboration and user communities.

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