What to Do if You Don't Have Any References

If you're a job seeker who has limited employment experience or gaps in employment, you may wonder what to do if you don't have any references. This can pose a challenge for anyone faced with looking for a job or trying to get registered with employment services. There are ways to work around this, however. Here are some things you can do if you are limited or have no references to provide to potential employers.

Provide Personal Character References

A good way for you to include references when applying for work is to ask your personal friends, neighbors and even relatives to furnish a reference for you. Be sure to advise them in advance that you are seeking a job and that you need them to provide information about your character, your values and the type of person you are in general. Make sure you only provide personal references that will say something positive about you and won't go into too much detail about your personal life. You may want to ask them to write a brief reference letter for you that you can include with applications.

Furnish References from Civic or Religious Groups

Another excellent way to provide references when filling out job applications; you can seek the support of any religious or civic groups you belong to. Get in touch with the leader at your church, synagogue or organization and ask for a letter of reference. When the time comes for employers to call on your references, they will be impressed that you have someone like a pastor or leader to vouch for you. This is also helpful until you establish a few career references.

Highlight Your Educational References

If you are a recent graduate or a college student, one of the best ways to furnish references is by contacting previous instructors or student advisers. Select a couple of your former teachers that worked closely with you and can testify to your hard work, perseverance and participation. Ask in advance if you can use an instructor or college adviser as a reference, and make sure to provide an update once you're gainfully employed.

Include Volunteer or Community Work References

As you're searching for a job, there's no time like the present to take on some volunteer work to establish yourself and make some new contacts. You will be able to make a difference in your community, learn more and use your skills at the same time as creating opportunities to develop relationships with people who can act as career references later on. In addition, you may even get offered a permanent paying role if you are in the right place at the right time as a volunteer.

Provide Testimonials from Customers

For the sole proprietor or self-employed person, giving job references can be an obstacle to becoming employed later on with another company. Although being a small business owner may seem like a positive trait, sometimes hiring managers shy away from candidates who have had gaps in their employment due to being in business for themselves. The best form of reference you can provide is from your customers, who can provide testimonials of the quality of work you do.