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CV Writing Tips : How Best To Choose Referees To Include In Your CV

Posted by | September 22, 2015 | Graduate Article

By Selipha Kihagi

Most job seekers make the mistake of not spending enough time listing thier referees as they do their qualifications and skills. Why? Because they don’t see the importance of dwelling too much on a name and contact of a person to recommend them.

However, this should not be the case. Referees are an important puzzle in your application and the people you include in the CV will play a major role in determining

whether you get the job or not, so be careful who you list in the section.

How do Referees make a difference?

Referees are the people your potential employer will reach out to so they can confirm your qualifications, skills and position title. They want to make sure that what you said in your CV or said during your interview is indeed true.

Most importantly, the employer may also ask your referees to give their opinion on your character, work ethics or even what kind of an employee you are, which could impact the perception the employer or recruiter already has of you. This is why you need to be careful who you give the go ahead to speak on your behalf.

How best to find referees for your CV

As we have established before, you do not just wake up and scroll down your contact list and include people you believe know you, you have to carefully select them and request them to act as your referees. For these people to accept your request, you must have worked with them or under them either at school or the office.

To come up with a list of prospects, consider the following;

1. A former lecturer or school dean or Project supervisor
If you are well familiar with a particular lecturer and they know you personally as an individual they can recommend to anyone for jobs because they consider you reliable, then this should be one of your referees.

Sometimes it could be a school dean who did not directly deal with you but knows you depending on your participation in school activities. If you were a leader in your school, this one could work in your favour.

2. Your former employer or supervisor
This could be your direct boss or manager or your former colleagues who were able to see what you can do in your job, they know what you are good at and they can speak well of you when prompted to do so.

While deciding on who to pick, make sure they have your interest at heart and you did not spark up any mixed feelings when working under them or with them.

A former boss could ruin your chances if you left him/her with a bad taste for you and the same applies to your former co-worker.

3. Your mentor
This is the person you look up to, your go-to-person whenever you need advice or opinion on various issues affecting your life and career. A mentor does not have to be in your field of study or to have worked with you to speak on your behalf, they know you and believe what you are capable of and what you are not.

Your mentor will always be your best referee among the many because they are concerned with your career journey directly.

Referees will contribute to the hiring decision, so leave out people who will not help you. Also avoid listing your family and friends because if they have a strong opinion about the job you are applying for, given a chance they will sabotage your chances.