References are people who have agreed to represent you personally and professionally to prospective employers. References will be asked questions about your skills and abilities as they relate to the job for which you are applying. Be sure to choose people who know you and who will feel comfortable talking about you.

You may choose to ask any of the following types of people:

References may be asked to comment on the following areas:
Your strengths
Your weaknesses
Personal qualities
Ability to get along well with others

Prior to listing someone as a reference you want to contact them and get their permission to list them as a reference. It is helpful to provide your references with some information so that they can represent you effectively.
  • A current resume
  • Topics brought up during the interview process
  • Copy of the job description
  • Specific accomplishments from when you worked together (PSRs)
  • Areas / skills you have developed
  • What do you want them to say about you

Here is a sample email that you can use to connect with your references:

Dear Pat,

As you may know, I am in the process of looking at new career opportunities and I am hoping that you would be willing to act as a professional reference for me.

I am currently interviewing for ________________ positions. A positive reference from you would be of great value. I would appreciate it if you could speak to the skills and qualifications that I demonstrated while working for you. Here are some specific skills that are relevant to my current career goals:
  • Leadership
  • Facilitation
  • Collaboration
  • Organization
  • Motivation
  • Delivering projects ahead of schedule
I have attached my current resume for your review as well as a link to my LinkedIn profile.

Thank you.