“While I work for a Logistics company as a clerical officer, I have been searching for a job and new opportunities for close to 2 years now. My cover letter, CV and educational background are up to par, which makes my job search a little bit frustrating. I recently called up a HR Officer of whose company I have applied several jobs with on a normal follow up. I was shocked to find out that one of the reasons I didn’t get the job or get any interview calls is because a person I have indicated as one of my referee does not have good things to say about my character. Going forward how do I ensure that the people I include on my resume do not inhibit my chances of landing a job,” laments Monica.

Frustrating as it may sound, referees or people who we choose to put in a good word for us could be doing the complete opposite.

How do you about it? Before you start your referees section, you need to get in touch with 2 or 3 people who would support your application if a prospective employer gave them a call.

A common known little fact is that you need to provide the prospective employer with an essential tool they need to take your application further – a way to get in touch with people who can verify the history, skills, your sense of character and quality of your previous works.

So, who are the two people you should consider having on your CV?

1. Your Former Employer
Who know you best as far your working progress is concerned? That’s right, a previous employer preferably your boss is the best choice of a referee who can provide details on your work ethic.

If you’ve been in several jobs, you might want to choose the most recent one or where you feel you made and left a great impact.

The good thing about including previous employees as referees is for the simple fact that they have overseen your day to day activities at your work place means that they know the responsibilities you undertook at your previous job.

But while you are at it, you don’t have to include your immediate employer as a referee if you are still working there. This is because, if not careful, this could end up ruining your chances of the new job or to make matters worse you might even lose the one you have.

You all know how that goes.

2. Your immediate supervisor
Your direct supervisor could also be a great option to vouch for you. This person could have been your internship supervisor, project supervisor or your team leader.

He or she may know who you were as an employee, your capabilities and potential. They also know how fast or slow you delivered on your projects, whether you achieved your KPIs and how you related with other team members.

Bonus Point: Before you pass on a referee’s details to an employer, make sure you get their permission to do so. Being asked to provide a reference with no prior warning is not pleasant and could mean they are not prepared and this may result in less positive feedback.

It’s also a good idea to brief your referees each time you pass on their details with information about the role you have applied for and what would be required of you.