Job References

As you begin your search for dental assistant jobs, you’ll need to give some thought to whom you will ask to serve as a job reference if needed. Employers can be quite careful about the types of people they hire, and you’ll want to be equally as thoughtful in selecting the right people to be references for you.

Part of the problem, however, is that former employers aren’t always comfortable revealing too much information about past employees. They might be fearful of a lawsuit if they say something potentially negative. Even the best employees sometimes get only the most basic references from former bosses, such as job titles, time worked, and final salary. If your past employers aren’t willing to reveal much about former employees, you might need to offer to sign a release allowing them to discuss your work. As you assemble your reference list, your ultimate task, according to the legal information website Nolo, is finding a reference who will “have positive things to say about your work, and making it easy for prospective employers to find them.”

How to Choose a Job Reference
So where do you start? Make a list of people you think will be a good reference. People who have seen your work are generally the best choices.

  • Managers and supervisors are generally preferable over someone who was only your co-worker (but that does not mean you should discount a co-worker altogether if he or she knows a fair amount about your accomplishments).
  • If you are a college student or don’t have extensive work experience, consider asking someone from an internship or volunteer experience who has observed your work ethic.
  • Once you have your list, narrow it down to the people you think will best be able to describe what qualities you have that will be beneficial to the job you are seeking.

Generally, a job applicant should have between three and five references, according to Quintessential Careers. References usually fall into a few categories, including educational and character references. You might list past coaches or professors as a reference, or even past business acquaintances. Avoid listing family members as a reference.

Take some time to meet with your references to tell them about the job for which you are applying and provide them with any information they will need should your prospective employer give them a call. Discuss the position you are applying for and consider giving them a copy of your résumé so they are aware of your achievements as well. If you aren’t sure what your reference would say about you, it might be necessary just to ask directly. Tell them you know your references will be important to getting the job you want, Nolo suggests, and this could prompt your prospective references to tell you whether they’ll have good things to say.

Once you know the references you will use for your job application, be sure you have all of their pertinent information. You’ll need to list their full names, job titles, business name and address, and other contact information such as email and phone numbers.
Treat Your References Well

Because they are doing you a favor, it’s also important to treat your job references respectfully. Be careful about giving out their contact information. Oftentimes, people choose to write “References available upon request” on their résumés. Doing so can save your references the trouble of being contacted by employers who might not be entirely serious about hiring you. Be sure to stay in contact with your references as you go through your job hunt. Tell them when you get a job and express your gratitude for their help.

Last Updated: 05/05/2014

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