So you’ve applied to your first ever, real-world job. Congratulations. But, this being your first ever, real-world job, you don’t have any references to give them when they inevitably call you back for an interview. In college, you were too busy studying your butt off to have a part time job, and you certainly didn’t have time to volunteer because of all the clubs and organizations you were leading in order to get the experience that got you that interview in the first place. What? You don’t have any of those either? Well, I’d say it’s about time to get some.
Bottom line, you don’t have anything you really need for this interview. In fact, you don’t even think you’re really qualified except for the degree that says you are and the knowledge that you know you can do it. Well, that confidence is at least one thing you have going for you. Now here is a list of some things you can do to get a positive response.
- Think back over anyone in your life that you were trying to impress. Any of these people are in the position to comment on your qualifications, abilities, and/or personal attributes. For example, did you ever baby-sit/house-sit/pet watch? These people obviously trusted you enough with their children/belongings and are probably willing to give a great reference.
- Are there any teachers with whom you really connected? Did you even talk with any of them? Even if you didn’t, try writing to one that you thought knew what they were talking about. Let them know why you trusted what they had to say, specifically, and start a correspondence. At the very least, they can serve as a future networking tool.
- Ask a friend that you worked with frequently either in a class or an organization that you were a part of together. They will know your initiative, abilities, productivity and how you handled yourself. Remember, however, that this should not be someone you know strictly in a social manner. They must have examples to site and be able to answer whatever questions are asked about you from an employers point of view.
- Last but not least, you can always use personal references. Limit these if possible because they are not as qualified to answer the probable questions the employer may ask. Chances are, they don’t know how you handle stress at work or what skill set you have to offer an employer.
Remember, always ask the reference first and send a written Thank-you afterward.
If, for some insane, crazy reason they do not hire you, then you’ll have lots of time on your hands. Volunteer! Join a club! Give back to the community— it’s good for everyone and will not only enhance your résumé, but give you plenty of possible references for the future.