Employers ask for references to find out if you are reliable and can do the job. Anyone can give you a ‘professional’ reference for your first job if they know about your skills and achievements. Think about:
teachers, tutors, lecturers or instructors from school, college, university or any other type of course
work experience managers
people who know you who are in paid work
people from your community
Some employers will ask for character references. Instead of focusing on your work experience and performance, a character reference is about you as a person. You can ask anyone who knows you well.
People who can give you a good reference
People will be good referees if they:
are professionals rather than friends
can be contacted easily when you apply for a job
have known you for a long time
Stay in touch with people who can give you a good reference.
Asking people to give you a reference
If you think someone could give you a reference, ask them if they’re happy to do this. How you ask depends on your relationship. You can ask friends in person or by text. Or ask professionals by sending a polite email like this:
I hope you're well. I'm applying for jobs as a [job role] and was wondering if you would act as a referee in my applications? If this is OK, could you please let me know how you’d like to be contacted and your contact details? Many thanks for your time.
Most professional people will know about providing references. If you get a job offer, make sure you can give your referees' details, such as:
relationship to you
And let your referees know to expect to be contacted!
Volunteering can help
If you’ve volunteered in a role related to the job you’re applying for, your referee can say that you have the skills for the job. Ask for a reference during or at the end of your placement.