It’s the summer right before your senior year. College application season is right around the corner. Having a bunch of free time on your hands, you decide to spend your summer working and starting on your personal statements.
However, as you start filling out both job and college applications, a feeling of dread start to pass by. “Who am I going to ask for a letter of recommendation?” you think to yourself. “I’ve never worked before so who am I going to ask to be one of my two references?” As a candidate for a job, or even a college, asking someone to serve as your reference should not be an easy process. You must think thoughtfully and strategically as to what the situation calls for. A reference can be thought as the person who can make or break your application, merely by just a couple of phrases. However, how do you pick a person who might as well be the stepping stone in your life? No worries, there is actually a semi-broad description of what professionals are looking for in these settings.
In general, all references should be people who know your achievements. You need to be confident that they can speak truthfully about your work. According to OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking in the Ere Media website, “To distinguish themselves from the competition, job seekers should assemble a solid list of contacts who can persuasively communicate their qualifications and professional attributes.” Make sure that the person giving you the reference will only talk about good qualities. However, also make sure to ask that certain person before you put them down on paper that you what them to be your reference.
For example, maybe you have a former supervisor who does not like giving references or out of the way phone calls. Since you already know that that certain supervisor will be flusters, do not even think twice about it.
The best type of job reference is one of a former supervisor. A supervisor is probably the one who is most likely to know your strengths and weaknesses because he/she have seen the work you’ve done and your potential as well. If you have had multiple supervisors, pick the one whom you are more comfortable with. This way, you will not feel awkward that you are asking that person to be a reference, and likewise.
If you have never had a job before, you should at least find a reference who can talk of your qualities that can be useful in the position you are applying for. For example, if you have done a lot of volunteer work in a hospital before, and you are applying to a customer service position, have someone who have seen you helping others be your reference. That person can probably say that you easily helped people with no complaint, you were friendly, etc.
These kind of references can be quite obvious, and straight to the point. Most colleges ask for one or two letter of recommendations from an academic faculty. This is because they want to know what kind of student you were. Where you the type who would always raise your hand up to answer questions? Perhaps you were the quiet student who would always help your fellow classmates in the time of need. Picking a teacher who gave you a good grade is not always the best however. It is the teacher who you were the closest to that should write your letter of recommendation. Grades honestly does not matter. That teacher probably does not know anything about you. Oh just another face who got an A in my class.
Pick someone who you had a connection with, or one who you would always see during office hours. You need someone who not only will shower you with compliments, but also want to see you grow into a fine adult.