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By Audrey Korir

When applying for jobs, a common request among employers is for you to provide a list of professional references on your CV.  After your first interview, the references could be a key component of whether you get the job offer.

What is a list of references?  It includes people who your potential employer may contact to learn more information about you.  These people should be able to speak about your qualifications for the job.

See how critical it is? Look at it from this perspective; think about your relationship with each person. How closely did you work with them? Was it a positive working relationship? Did you work with them recently? How will they explain your details to the employer? Will they say good or bad things?

Corporate Staffing Services CV Writing Expert Ms Rebecca Nyawira says that your references are vital in that they can make or break your chance of landing a job.

“Select people who can emphasize your strengths to the employer, not people who will speak negatively about you or those who do not even recall working with you. Choose them carefully”, she advises.

Who should you then list in your references? Here are people you should consider including if you want to land that job;

1. Your Former Employer

This will most likely be the first person your potential employer will contact while conducting the reference check.  A previous employer can provide the best insight into your work ethic. They know what your duties were and how you handled them.

2. Your Supervisor

Someone who supervised you, but wasn’t necessarily your boss, could be another excellent reference to include. This could be a supervisor from a project, an internship or some volunteer work. Any of these people spent enough time working with you to get a sense of your character, and probably your passions.

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3. A Colleague

A former colleague is also a great fit. They don’t have to be your boss or supervisor but someone who knows you professionally and has worked with you.

They will be able to vouch for your teamwork skills and what you achieved together. Employers look for candidates who are team players so it is very crucial to have someone who can attest to that.

4. Lecturer

If you are a recent graduate then this is the best option for you.  List one who taught a course that applies to your major.  They will be able to talk about the skills you picked up during their course, as well as your character.

However, when you give out someone’s name as a reference, be sure that you have permission to use them as a reference and let them know they may be contacted. Provide some information about the job you have applied for, so your reference can relate your experience to the job and give you the best possible reference for the job.

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