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Professional References

How do I prepare a reference list?

You may be asked for professional references by a potential employer. To be ready for this, you will want to identify and ask permission from three to five individuals who can attest to the quality of your work and answer questions. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Potential employers are looking for professional references not personal. Your references should come from the work place.

  • Chose individuals with whom you have had a positive working relationship. They should be knowledgeable about your work and skills, and preferably have been at a level above you. Manager, supervisors, team leaders, and internal customers you supported are all good choices.

  • Always get permission to use someone as a reference. Ask them how they would like to be contacted - by work phone, home phone, cell, or email.

  • Be sure to let your references know whenever you provide their contact information to a potential employer. Give them information about the position and let them know what aspects of your experience and skill set will be of most interest.

On the following page is an example of a professional reference format. It includes an optional section that describes the nature of the work relationship. You will want to include company name, department and title for each reference.

Note: JP Morgan Chase has an automated phone number you can provide to a potential employer to verify your employment. See Introductory section page 4 for more information.

Worksheet: Professional References Sample