Q: Who can be listed as a reference for a job?
A: This is an excellent question to ask, Imperius Rex. Reference checks serve as an important part of the selection process at many companies, so selecting the right people to use as both personal and professional references is a very important task for a job seeker, one that should not be taken lightly. Remember that employers are using reference checks to determine your overall employability, so the information they collect in a conversation with your references will be their best chance to complete the picture that you have painted of yourself.
When selecting someone to use as a reference, you should first choose someone you feel good about asking to “vouch” for you. Your reference should be credible and able to clearly and enthusiastically speak about your character and work ethic. They should also be able to provide examples that verify what you have already volunteered about yourself, if asked. The person you select should be someone who is interested in your success, who wants the best for you, perhaps someone who has been a cheerleader or mentor of yours, someone who has praised your work to you and to others. It is best to have 3 of each on hand (personal and professional), along with their current contact information (mailing address, phone, fax, email, etc.) to provide a hiring manager, if requested.
Some examples of people to consider for job references include: current and former supervisors and coworkers, instructors, academic advisers, clergy, acquaintances, people you have volunteered with.
No matter who you choose, expect them to be contacted and prepare them in advance.