At Jobulo we often remind our members that CVs do not get jobs. However, they can secure you an interview. In the first stage of an application for a new job your CV is the only document that represents you and what you can do for your new potential employer – it’s for this reason that it is one of the most important professional documents you will ever create. A good CV needs to attract the attention of an employer within the first 30 seconds.
Obtaining references for your CV can be a daunting process as it can often involve talking to previous employers you may not have contacted in quite some time and will certainly involve a little head-scratching with regard to picking the right people that will present you in the best possible light if questioned by your prospective employers. The latter point is the most important one here as ultimately, when creating your CV, you’re creating a document which has to sell you to your potential new employer and every aspect of your CV has to reflect this underlying goal.
Don’t be daunted by asking someone to act as your referee on a CV. This is a document that almost everyone has to create in their working lives and most people are actually complemented when asked to act as a reference and certainly do not view the task as a hindrance. With this in mind it’s very unlikely your chosen referee will turn down the opportunity so don’t be afraid to trawl your book of work contacts.
Generally, unless specifically asked otherwise by the employer, you should look to include two referees on your CV with at least one of them being a professional contact that you have worked for or with. Your CV references should obviously have a great opinion of you and be ready to sell you to your potential employer if the situation should arise. Ideally your professional referee should be well spoken and astute as this will encourage any prospective employer investigating your references to have confidence when they’re being told you are an excellent asset to any business. It may not always be possible but unless you’ve already told your current employers (if you are currently employed but applying for something new) that you are planning to apply for a new job you should always use previous employers or work contacts to act as referees. If this is not possible then it may be wise to consider a work colleague that you can trust to act as your referee. This simply avoids any awkwardness in your current job role and ensure that if you’re application is unsuccessful you still have the safety of a current income.
If you’re deciding to use a character reference on your new CV this should preferably be someone you’ve known for a period of time and perhaps someone that can verify your work ethic and give that new employer an idea of the sort of upstanding person you are. What can add extra kudos in this situation is the character reference’s profession; if they work in a highly respected or relevant industry then this may really sway the job application in your favour. Do you know anyone who is a doctor, lawyer or employer? If you do it may help to include this person as a reference on your CV.
Now that you have some tips to help you find the right references you should start using our free CV builder to build the best possible CV for that all important job application.