Who should I put as a reference?
The list of references that you put on your resume is as important as your qualifications and experience. It will give your potential employer an external source to verify all your information. It is also a way for them to have a conversation with someone who knows you well. Your prospective employer can ask questions that you may not have dealt with during the interview.
Deciding on the people you put down as references is an important decision. You should try and incorporate a variety of people. Most interviewers will want three references, so you should narrow it down. All the references should fall into the following categories:
You should have a current or former supervisor. They will know how well you work along with other important factors like how you work in a team and how reliable you are. You would normally want your current supervisor, but if that could be a problem, you should use the most recent one you feel comfortable speaking with your potential new employer. It should not be the head of the company you worked for but rather someone who watched you work on a daily basis.
Not all references have to be from work. If you went to college or obtained job-related skills, you can use a former professor or teacher. They will also be able to vouch for your work ethic and how well you know your profession. While you do not want to use a friend, a colleague from work would be fine. They do not have to be in a position above you. They will be able to give insight into how well you work within a team.
No matter who you use, you should be able to present the letters of recommendation at the interview along with current contact information. You should convey the image that you would be very happy for your interviewer to contact them as you are confident they will speak highly of you. You will also need to let your references know that they may be contacted as part of a background check. It will give them time to put together positive things to say about you.
Providing references should not be something you put little thought into. Your resume is important, but employers will want to hear from other people that know you both through work or in important areas outside of work.