How to Choose, Prepare and Deliver Your Best Job References

How to Choose, Prepare and Deliver Your Best Job References

I am Martin Buckland. I’m an executive career management practitioner and I help senior executives across the world, reach their career goals.

The question that I’m answering today is, “How many references do I need?”

How to Choose, Prepare and Deliver Your Best Job References

I would suggest you have five. Why five? It’s always good to have an odd number and the five should be from specific types of people.

Five References

  1. From your boss. Preferably I know it’s very difficult to get a reference from your boss, but maybe you have a boss who’s retired or a boss who has moved on to another appointment and is willing to give a reference for you.
  2. The next one should be somebody lateral to you or, in other words, somebody on the same level as you, who has worked intimately with you, knows your ins and outs, and knows your attributes. They would be able to speak to your character, etc., and are willing to give a reference for you.
  3. Another one should be an employee. Pick an employee that you’ve worked with and they’ve liked your leadership. They like your management and you believe they can give you a great reference.
  4. The next one should be a supplier or a vendor.
  5. The last one should be a client or customer.

You should also have your references typed up so they’re ready to take with you in order to give to the interviewer. If you’re on the zoom call, as we are now, you need to email that with the references and then they can start checking.

But also here’s an addendum…

You also need to have plenty of recommendations on your LinkedIn profile because one of the screening processes that the executive recruiters and those who are hiring look for on a LinkedIn profile are looking for is recommendations.

If you’re totally void of recommendations, what message is that going to send?

My recommendation to you will be to have five recommendations per appointment. Now, that may seem very daunting and it’s not the top of everybody’s list to give a recommendation, but go and solicit as many as you can, the more the better, but don’t go over the top.

If you are in a career transition or want to manage your career, I can help you. Please look me up on social media. I am active on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. So go and view my LinkedIn profile and go and view my website,


Have your resume or CV reviewed by a Certified Resume Writer. 

No obligations!