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October 09, 2008

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Nowadays I find that most people don't even give a bad/good reference, they just verify employment dates so as not to be challenged legally.

It is risky but I've always been upfront (not arrogant or threatening) with my current employer that I'm looking to advance career and am considering other opportunities. By doing that I’ve been able to list current bosses and coworkers as references. I’ve had great success with it. Here is the list of references I’ve used in the past.

1. Current boss (board member, CEO, CFO, VP, Director, etc.)
2. Former boss (board member, CEO, CFO, VP, Director, etc.)
3. Peer (a person works in a similar position and who is familiar with your work)
4. Peer (a person works in a similar position and who is familiar with your work)
5. Employee (someone who has worked for you)
6. Other professional reference (someone outside your profession who can verify your character, work ethic, integrity, etc.)

I would suggest having at least three strong references with at least one or two being from your immediate supervisor. As a recent graduate you have more flexibility so choose wisely a professor and or advisor, someone who knows your work well. I would also advise you to tailor your references based on the job description. For example, if the job is in the finance field ask a professor of finance for a reference or a supervisor in the finance field.

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