I don't know nobody
October 31, 2010 12:30 PM   Subscribe

What do I put down for references on a job application, when I don't know anyone professionally for five years?

So, I'm applying for a job through a temp agency, and one thing I need to do as part of the process is fill out a long, arduous paper application. I'm feeling okay about it, except for the references part. I don't know who to put down here, because I need to know someone for at least five years—and no relatives. I suppose I could put down my girlfriend or her parents, but I think that would be bending the rule a little bit. I can't put down any of my managers from my current part-time job, as neither of them have been there for five years.

posted by SansPoint to Work & Money (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
How far out of school are you? Could you use former teachers? Maybe longtime family friends or former neighbors?
posted by amyms at 12:34 PM on October 31, 2010

Selecting the best possible reference is more important than a somewhat ambiguous rule about knowing someone for 5 years. Also, when in doubt, contact the temp agency. Describe the issue (like you have above) and suggest a reasonable solution.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:36 PM on October 31, 2010

Response by poster: amyms I'm two years out of school... and I attended three different colleges. I never got to know any of my professors that well.
posted by SansPoint at 12:54 PM on October 31, 2010

Do temp agencies even contact professional references? I wouldn't worry too much about that particular question. Try listing a friend who knows you reasonably well and is likely to say positive things about you.
posted by Nomyte at 3:26 PM on October 31, 2010

It's my understanding that the 'known for X years' requirement is similar to the applications for things like passports where it can be anyone reputable (professionals) that can vouch that you are who you say you are (or at least have been for that time period, which is within reasonable doubt). i.e. doctors, dentists, engineers, etc. Surely there must be a couple of people, even just family friends, that is willing to confirm that, yes they've known you a good amount of time, and no, you don't dismember puppies in your spare time.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 3:27 PM on October 31, 2010

Family friends are good ones. Did you ever meet your parents' bosses or anything like that? An old neighbor? Parent of a childhood friend? Anyone you've known online for a while that would be willing? College roommate you liked (and liked you) and who you may still be in touch with?

I'm assuming that the references section is different than the job experiences section, which shows who you worked for and how to get in touch with those employers. So even though some of these suggestions aren't strictly "professional," I think you'll be OK with any of them.
posted by darksong at 6:00 PM on October 31, 2010

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