You have got a good cover letter and resume and you now have an interview, but what are you going to do if they ask for a reference? You need to have your references ready, and aware that you are using them as references. Selecting the right people to provide a reference for you, and then asking them to be a reference, can be a daunting task. These individuals can make or break your job prospects, so you need to put as much thought into finding and asking them as you do the rest of your job-hunting process.
The first thing is to make a list of potential references who can speak about your work skills, past performance or character. Family members might give you a glowing reference, but potential employers are looking for professional references. Your list of potential references should include prior supervisors, co-workers or even clients. Next, you should think about your relationship with each of the people on your list. How long have you known them, how familiar are they with the work you have done in the past, how long has it been since you worked with them? What specific skill or character trait can they speak about if you ask them to be a reference? Also, you will want to think about what exactly the reference will say. You will want someone articulate enough to be able to explain what work you did for/with them and how well you did it. A note to remember, you do not have to select your prior boss. You can ask anyone you worked with who had the opportunity to see how you worked. After answering these questions, narrow down your reference list to three or four names.