How to Get a Glowing Reference



You’ve got a perfect resume and flawless cover letter. You’ve double and triple checked your application. What else could you possibly need to land your dream job? An enthusiastic, glowing reference can speak volumes about your work ethic and personality – the things that may not be evident on a piece of paper.

The following tips will help you to ensure that your references seal the deal on the job or internship you’re after.

Ask someone that knows you!

  • Choose your 3-5 references based on their ability to rattle off your achievements, not their prestigious title. Just because you have spoken to the CEO of your company once doesn’t mean he or she is going to be a good source of knowledge about you. A direct supervisor or teammate will have specific examples of the ways you went above and beyond during an internship.
  • Great sources: Professors, Past or Present Supervisors, Co-Workers, and Coaches.


I repeat, ASK someone that knows you.

  • Even if you think it is a given that your favorite boss or co-worker will speak on your behalf, they may do a better job endorsing your skills if they know to expect the call or email from your potential employer.


Keep in touch

  • If you have not spoken to a professor or coach in years, it may not be the best idea to list him or her as a reference. Call or email your references periodically to hear about any updates in their lives – this will keep you on their mind and it is possible that they have new contact information or a new title.

If you are unsure the person you have in mind will be the best fit for your reference – ask them. They will know how confident they feel speaking on your behalf.

Best of luck in your job hunt!

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