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The Importance Of Having Reliable References On Your CV



A reference refers to a former manager or supervisor that speaks about your work experience, working habits, character and skills. It is important to choose your referees carefully as those professional connections are the ones that attest to your qualifications of the job. References are an important factor for recruitment purposes as hiring managers / recruiters validates what is on your CV. 

Potential questions that hiring managers might ask your referee:

  • What was his/her reason for leaving the company?
  • How was his/her communication skills with supervisors/colleagues?
  • Were there any attendance or punctuality issues?
  • Was there any reason to doubt his/her honesty?
  • What are his/her core strengths and did you come across any limitations?
  • Hypothetically speaking, if you had a suitable vacancy available, would you re-employ him/her?

It is important to list referees that are contactable and reliable. An ideal reference is someone who can effectively validate your skills and value as an employee.References is a good way for others to vouch for your credibility, competency and professionalism. Hiring managers want to hear how you work with others and if you will be best suited for the hiring position. When listing your references, it should always be someone that you directly reported to and not a friend or work colleague. If you are a recent graduate or a student that has no working experience, you would then provide a character reference list to your CV. A character reference is personal and refers to someone that provides insight of your character and personality traits.

Your referee should be:

  • Friendly 
  • Engaging
  • Professional
  • Well-spoken 
  • Authoritative 

Tips on listing your references:

  • List at least 2-3 reference details
  • List references that are most likely to give you an excellent recommendation
  • Provide a brief description of your relationship (example, Assistant to the Managing Director)
  • Always ensure that you get permission from your supervisor/ direct manager to use them as a reference 
  • Follow up with your references and keep in touch with them in order to make your connection stronger

The reference section on your CV is important and should not be entirely excluded. Depending on your preference you may include the line that reads “references available upon request” once your interview is completed, you can inform the hiring manager that you will send your referees’ contact details.


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A reference refers to a former manager or supervisor that speaks about your work experience, working habits, character and skills.