References For CVs
Rod Cornwell (International Director, Thomas International) gives expert video advice on: Can I be sure a previous employer will give me a good reference?; Should I let a potential employer know if I suspect my previous employer will give a bad reference? and more...
What are references?
There are two basic types of references that can be put on a CV. The first type of reference is from a person who can vouch for your previous employment history, such as a previous employer or manager, or somebody who worked with you closely. The other could be somebody who is quite senior in the community, such as a doctor or perhaps a policeman, who can vouch for your character.
Do I need to include references?
When you're thinking about whether to put references on your CV, it's a good idea either to give the full details or simply put, "References available on request." The employer, or future employer, will be happy with either of those.
How many references do I need to include?
Ideally, you need to include two references on your CV or have two references available on request. One of the references should be pertinent to your work history--your previous employer, and the other one should be somebody who's quite senior in the community who can actually vouch for you as a character.
Who should I select as my references?
When you are considering who you need as references on your CV the first reference you need is your most recent employer, not somebody that you got on with a few years ago and they thought you were a really good guy and you were a good manager. The second reference is somebody in the community who can vouch for you for at least the last few years. It's very important, however, that you get in touch with the people who will provide references and make sure that they are expecting a phone call, or an e-mail, or a letter through the post asking about you.
Can I be sure a previous employer will give me a good reference?
You can't guarantee that your most recent employer is going to give you a good reference. So, when your future employer writes to them, by law, they cannot give you a bad reference, but what they can do is decline to give the reference itself. So, that can often send a message back that there may have been a problem with your previous employment history.
Should I let a potential employer know if I suspect my previous employer will give a bad reference?
If for any reason you feel that your previous employer may decline to give you a reference, because you fell out with him when you left, let your prospective employer know that that was the case. They would much rather know at interview that your previous employer will decline to give a reference than later. They won't think any less of you if you are actually honest with them.