Do I ask people to be references for me?

  1. 0
    I've only been a nurse for 2 1/2 years, and all personal and professional references when job searching have been mentors, instructors, friends, coworkers, and other fairly familiar people. Basically, all of my past references have offered to be one for me. I either didn't have to ask, or we had a relationship in which I knew I could ask them.

    Now that I'm learning to take initiative, I need more than my past references. I am in very good standing with some of the nurse managers, directors, and physicians on my job, and I know that they could add real value to a resume and job consideration. My question is if/how do you ask if they'd be willing to be a reference? I'm sorry, I honestly don't know this kind of business etiquette. I don't even know if it's considered overbearing to ask. Thanks!
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  4. 10 Comments so far...

  5. 3
    I just ask. I have never been told no.
    itsmejuli, ktliz, and PeachPie like this.
  6. 1
    Yes, please ask. I once had an acquaintance give my name as a reference without asking me first. I wasn't at all prepared when the recruiter called me and I probably didn't help her much.
    Mrs. SnowStormRN likes this.
  7. 0
    I really don't think there is anything wrong with asking, as long as it is someone who you are familiar with, and they are not under the impression that you are just trying to "use their name" or something like that. I am a fresh LVN and am applying for a position in an acute hospital. I dont have any experience and they are requesting some references, so I asked a clinical instructor and an administrator at my school, and they both said Of course! So go ahead and just ask, they will probably be flattered if anything
  8. 0
    a quick phone call or email asking if you can use them as a reference is always the right thing to do. Some prospective employers do not want you to use supervisors as references, so it's good to have a wide pool to pull from.
  9. 0
    When you ask, make certain to let them know what you are applying for and if they are willing to give you a good reference (emphasis on the good). I didn't specify one time when someone said she'd be a reference for me and she gave me a very poor one. Luckily, my others were stellar and I still got the job. Hope this helps!
  10. 0
    Quote from JeneraterRN
    When you ask, make certain to let them know what you are applying for and if they are willing to give you a good reference (emphasis on the good). I didn't specify one time when someone said she'd be a reference for me and she gave me a very poor one. Luckily, my others were stellar and I still got the job. Hope this helps!
    Our nursing instructors emphasized the good part too - told us several stories of poor students assuming they'd get a good reference from school staff. I have my pool of 4-5 that I know I can *always* count on, but now that I've had 2 real nursing jobs, I've tried to add 2 from each of those facilities.

    Even with my regular references, I still let them know every time I'm putting their name down. A quick call or email just to give a heads up that they may be receiving a phone call re: Me.
  11. 0
    Always ask, even if the person has already told you, "anytime" ( see Moogie's response). It doesn't look good if your reference is caught by surprise.
    If you're not absolutely sure of your intended reference, work them a little.
    e.g. I'm applying for ... and I would like to use you as a reference, because of your excellent knowledge of... (or, because you have been such a great role model), would you be able to give me an excellent reference? Make sure you don't just ask if the person is willing to give a reference, after all, you want a great reference. If you know what the prospective employer is looking for, ask your reference if they can speak positively about this. I often ask a prospective reference what they would say about me. Remember, good references may get you an interview or seal the deal. This is a hugely important area of job seeking and is often times (imho) treated with neglect.
  12. 0
    Quote from Moogie
    Yes, please ask. I once had an acquaintance give my name as a reference without asking me first. I wasn't at all prepared when the recruiter called me and I probably didn't help her much.
    Prepared?It was wrong of her not to ask your permission, but I'm a little cloudy on you "being prepared".

    Was there something else you had to look up, other than state your previous work relationship.

    Hmm.
  13. 0
    It is courtesy to ask someone before you put them as a reference. Anytime I've applied for a job, I've gone to the people I wanted to put as references and said, "I'm applying for a job at XYZ Hospital and wanted to know if it's okay if I put you down as a reference." If I don't take that job for whatever reason and six months later I apply somewhere else, I ask again if I plan to use that same person.

    As far as being prepared, people do ask questions beyond what your work experience is together. I've had HR people ask about a candidate's strengths/weaknesses and such. It's just a little easier to answer when you kind of know it might be coming....you don't sound like as much of a blubbering idiot.


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