Before you begin a job, you will need to provide a reference. A reference lets an employer know that you are reliable and suitable for the job you’ve applied for. To prove this, the employer will request an endorsement from an adult of your choosing. This is a very important part of getting a job. The referee you pick (the person who is your reference) will be contacted by the employer so you want to make sure that your referee is someone you trust, who knows you and your skills well, and who is reliable themselves.

Here are some tips on picking a referee and how to ask for a reference or endorsement of your skills on Skills Summary.

1. Think about who would be the best person to ask.

Who in your life knows all your successes and skills? Who do you trust will respond to a phone call? The best referee is someone who is not a family member but who has seen you grow and has witnessed you perform a skill. This could be a previous manager, a mentor, a youth worker, or a

2. Make sure you give them enough time to respond.

The best time to ask a person to be a referee is before you apply for a job. If you give them enough time to reflect on your request, they can review your resume and prepare a perfect response. We have a tool on our website to request an endorsement however we recommend sending your referee a quick polite message first. You can then request an endorsement here.

3. Ask for a reference in a polite way.

When asking for a reference, make sure that your request is kind and considerate. The best way to do this is to not put pressure on the person to say yes. For example, you could say, ‘Would it be ok if you could provide me with a professional reference?’ Most people love to be referees, especially
people who know you well, however, it’s always nice to be kind and polite!

4. Let your referee know what type of job you are applying for.

Sending your referee a short description of the jobs you are looking for is a good idea. That way they know the kind of skills that are necessary to highlight to employers. They may also know someone in that kind of job who might be looking for a new employee.

5. Don’t forget to confirm the referee’s/endorser’s contact details!

Make sure that the phone number and email address that you have for them are up to date! You don’t want to give an employer the wrong number.