A lot of people face the problem of not having a professional reference to put down; maybe you are a recent graduate, or you are coming from overseas and your new potential employer is looking for a reference specifically within Australia.
That’s OK. First of all, you don’t need to put references on your CV. References are only required when you have been selected for the job and the company needs to do the final checks before submitting a formal job offer.
At this stage, your potential referees can include the following:
1. A professor or teacher that you worked closely with, could be the one that supervised your thesis or end of class project. Professors are used to acting as a reference and on this basis will be happy to step in.
2. Your career advisor: someone that recognizes your skills and your motivations to secure work in a particular field, type of work and company.
3. A family member or a friend – do not put your parents or siblings – but instead a friend or a family member that you have worked with. As an example, an uncle can say “my nephew was helping me with administrative work, drafting quotations for customers, following up orders with customers etc.”
4. A classmate or someone you worked with on a group project. This person can talk about your teamwork and collaboration skills, your general capabilities and intellect, as well as your attitude and approach to work.
All of the above options can successfully confirm your skills, educational background, desire to learn, team spirit, punctuality, capability to execute tasks, networking skills and reliability.
It is important to note that before you ask for a reference, always provide some context around your career goals and the type of roles and companies for which you are applying.
Providing a referee with a level of familiarity will assist them in providing an accurate and relevant reference check to the future employer, this could include providing them with a sample of your work i.e. the summary of your thesis, an article of a process/technology you would like to work on, or an article of the company latest product or service. In addition, don’t forget to add them as a connection on LinkedIn. Your network is the best asset you could ever have!