My Future

5 People To List As A Reference On Your Resume (If You Don’t Know Who To Put)

In case your last boss was a total jerk.

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The worst part about a reference list is wondering who to put on it.

You want someone who’ll say good things about you, but you don’t want to offer up your ride or die bitch Megan. You want someone from your professional past but my god, your last boss was a total douchebag.

So, who else is there? How do you toe the line between too professional and too personal? Here are some options.

#1 Your Supervisor

OK so your last boss was a total jerk and clearly had a vendetta against you. That sucks. Who else worked above you who’d be able to vouch for your hard work? Was there a supervisor who could step in in their place? Even someone from another department who admired your can-do attitude? Failing that, a colleague would work well too if you wanted to use them as a character reference.

It’d be great to have a reference from the top, but you don’t have to. You just need to prove that you’re a good, hard worker.

#2 Former Clients

Have you ever babysat before? Or walked a neighbour’s dog? Or helped tutor a family friend in English?

Use that to your advantage! Not only does it establish you as a proactive person, it’ll show that you have a wide range of interests and skills.

#3 Uni Tutor

This is obviously dependant on how close you are with your tutors. If you swan in five minutes late, stay quiet during question time and always hand in your assignments at the last minute, you shouldn’t be surprised if they decline.

But if you’re a Good Nerd Student, they’ll probably be more than happy to vouch for you. They can confirm you show up on time, you’re polite and well presented. Plus, having “Professor” on your reference list is pretty baller.

#4 Your Bestie’s Parent

If you don’t have a solid work history and can only scrape together one professional reference, personal or character references are also a good idea.

For me, I used my bestie’s dad as my reference for a few years. He had an impressive title and was really good at giving references. Also – as of right now – I’m currently employed, so it clearly worked a charm!

#5 Someone You Share A Hobby With

This one might be a little too specific, but it’s worth putting out there. If you conduct a hobby in your spare time, something like community theatre or volunteering or run club, anything that establishes you as a strong community member, you can reach out to these connections.

Much like listing a client as a reference, a reference from your hobby will make you seem interesting and give you a wider range of skills.

Of course, I’m no career professional. But as long as these people are saying good things about you, you’ll be sweet.

(Lead image: The Office/BBC)