It's a given that when you apply for a job, you'll need to provide a list of professional references. They will be pivotal to the success of you landing the job as they will verify your credibility to your future employer. However, what if you don't have any references to cite? What should you then do?
Don’t worry, you certainly aren't alone here. There could be a number of reasons why you may not have anyone to specify.
It could be that you have just finished college and have no work experience. Or that your previous references have moved on and you have no means of contact. It may even be that you have relocated to a new country! Whatever the reason, it’s best to be honest with your potential employer about your situation. As they say, honesty is the best policy.
You can't pluck anyone out of thin air to come to the rescue (as appealing as this may sound) but there are plenty of opportunities for you to get help.
Who can help?
First things first, if you’re stuck for a previous employer to vouch for you, there are still a number of other people in the community who can help you. They are as follows:
Former colleagues and supervisors
People you have worked with can account for you as an employable candidate. Because they have worked alongside you and understand your work ethics and your personality, they are just as good as getting your employer to write up a reference on your behalf.
Clients who you’ve liaised with can also confirm your employability to potential recruiters. With great connections and relationships formed over the course of your career, you may have clients willing to produce a great reference for you.
Ever worked as a volunteer? Did you know that your fellow volunteering colleagues can also put forward a reference on your behalf? Yes, they sure can.
Teachers and mentors
If you are just starting out in the world of work, you can turn to an academic professional such as: teachers, private tutors, professors and mentors to lend you a hand with writing a great reference.
Doctors and medical professionals
Your community holds key figures that will also be able to step in as your referees. Medical practitioners are to name but a few who can come on board and assist your job application with a sound reference.
What if there is no one you can approach?
If the case is that you have no one you can approach for a reference then you could showcase your work to prove your credibility as a potential employee. You can provide some evidence of work that is related to the position such as: a portfolio, essays, case studies and reports.
This will demonstrate your skills, aptitude, work ethics and perseverance which are all excellent attributes employers love to see.
If all else fails, offer your services as a freelancer so they can get to know you better.
How many references should I have?
Having five references is a guide, if of course it is achievable. Not to worry though, once you’re opportunities expand, so will your reference number!
It can be disheartening when you know your potential employer is seeking a reference and you cannot provide one. It may slim your chances of grabbing that job you’re after but there are other ways of fulfilling this criteria.
Should you find yourself needing help, please contact our team at Send Me Your CV for further advice, information and support today.