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November 13, 2006 8:03 AM   Subscribe

Who should I use as a professional reference when applying for my second post-college job? I'm currently working at my first.

I'm looking to explore opportunities beyond the confines of the IT company I'm currently long-term-temping at. Through contacts in the industry, I've got the attention of a couple of headhunters who're trying to match me with clients. I've been asked to submit several professional references from previous employers with my resume, but the job I'm working now is my first in the IT support sector, and my first post-college full-time position. I worked in freelance web design during school, and several of my clients would be glad to recommend me, but I'm not sure of the relevence of a web design reference to an IT support position. My current boss would probably give me a glowing recommendation, but I can't ask him for one when I'm still working for him. In situations like this, is it acceptable to use a coworker as a reference? Sadly, "coworker with similar job responsibilities" doesn't sound nearly as awesome as "grand poohbah of the department" when defining "who is this person who's reccomending you?" but I certainly can't ask the grand poohbah for a reccomendation..

Thoughts? How is this situation typically handled?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Your recruiter should be able to help you through this. Recommendations from colleagues are fine as long as they can honestly attest to your quality of work and provide real examples. Freelance clients should be able to testify regarding your ability to meet deadlines and deliver quality work to spec. It's your recruiter's job to massage this with prospective employers; odds are they'll understand.
posted by mkultra at 8:13 AM on November 13, 2006

Do you have a former colleague who has left your current company who, either then or now, has a more impressive job title? That's what I've used in the past.
posted by decathecting at 8:15 AM on November 13, 2006

I'm still a student myself so I'm not 100% sure how to handle this, but I think that getting references from your freelance clients would help -- at the very least they can talk about the work you did for them, and what they liked (or didn't) about your work ethic.
posted by DrSkrud at 8:22 AM on November 13, 2006

You can ask your boss for a recommendation. I have done this before, in temporary positions. It's not like they expect you to be there forever! I've approached this by setting up a meeting with the boss, telling him that I like the job and the work environment but it's not really in my field-- and I've been doing x, y, and z to get ready for a job in a different field-- then asking for their advice and a recommendation. Sometimes they are willing to help you network, too.

For everyone you ask, be ready to give them some brief info about yourself. How you and they interacted, dates, what type of jobs you're looking for, what experiences you are highlighting in your resumes and cover letters. This makes writing letters a lot easier-- they can focus on how great you are rather than "Did I work with her in 2005 or 2004?"
posted by holyrood at 10:41 AM on November 13, 2006

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