When you’re just starting out in your career and a hiring manager wants references, you might be stuck for an answer as to who you can use.
Here are some good suggestions that will serve you well:
Teachers or professors whose classes you’ve attended. Whether you know the individuals from high school or college, these professionals are great for references. They know how you performed academically and past performance is always indicative of future performance.
Leaders of groups you volunteered with. Were you a candy stripper? Did you help clean up the neighborhood? Were you involved in any other civic activity? If so, ask the group leaders if you can use them as a reference.
Girl Scouts or Boys Scouts. Most of us were members of these youth organizations. Ask your former troop leaders for their endorsement.
Parents who hired you to babysit their children. Again, if these adults trusted you with their offspring, it’s likely they found you responsible. They’re a great source for references.
Your church or religious organization. Your pastor and others affiliated with your faith are solid choices for a reference.
The idea is to think of people you’ve come into contact with who might be able to provide a clear picture of the professional, responsible person you are. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you’ve worked for. Everyone has a first job and references for those will likely come from school, community or personal relationships.