How and where I found a professional work reference

Two men sitting at a table and talking- work reference

Employers in the USA will ask for work references before they hire you. A work reference is a report about you from your previous employer.

Sometimes, it is hard to get a sincere professional reference to help you apply for jobs. Your current employer might not like the fact that you are leaving the job because maybe you are a hard-working employee and they want to keep you! They might not be willing to respond to the emails or calls from a new employer.

However, I have been lucky enough to get excellent professional references when applying for jobs and scholarships.

I usually use my supervisor, teacher, or any professional friend. I believe that my supervisor knows the most about me.

During the last 5 years I have been in the United States, I have had 3 jobs, and I have been pleased with 3 awesome supervisors who all cherished me. Both of the last two helped me in getting the jobs I wanted by recommending me when they were called for a reference check. They gave good compliments about me and that has earned me the subsequent job.

Some jobs applications are specific on who they want to hear from. They will ask for a work reference from your immediate or most recent supervisor or manager.

For these specific requests, you cannot list your friend or teacher as your work reference. That is why it is very important to always build a good relationship with your immediate supervisor. It is also good to give two weeks’ notice (or whatever the company standard notice might be) for a job that you want to quit. I say this because if you don’t leave jobs in good standing, that may have a negative impact on the reference sent to your new employer.

Since I am in school right now pursuing my degree, I always try to build a good relationship with my teachers for me to be able to use them for work references and scholarship recommendations.

My last two teachers at the university have recommended me in two scholarship opportunities. I have won both of the scholarships, which are worth $4,000. I was really grateful to both of them and they assured me that I can always use them for work and scholarship references. I also have friends who work at the county offices, who I met during my first two semesters at the university. They have also been helpful with work references and with tips on landing highly paid jobs.

Work resources from the Refugee Center online

Refugees shaking hands

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