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Getting a Good Job Reference After You’ve Been Laid Off

No one wants to hear the dreaded words, “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to let you go.” But, if you’ve been let go, these words don’t mean it’s the end of your career life. As difficult as it might be, you have to shake off the blues, get your résumé handy, and set out on a job search for a new start.

As you search for a new career, you’re going to need some references to help you out. How do you get good references after a layoff? Where do you look? Check out these categories to help you in your reference search.

  1. Previous managers – If you were laid off for a non-performance related work issue, you can go back to your previous manager for a reference. If the only reason they let you go was because of cutbacks, they should be willing to recommend you and your work.
  2. Former co-workers – Your co-workers work closely with you on a daily basis. They know what your work ethic, abilities, and attitude are like. Although they can’t provide you with an official recommendation on behalf of your previous company, they can provide you with a personal reference at their own will. Consider asking a former co-worker that you had a good relationship with.
  3. Business Acquaintances – In your career, you have more than likely come in contact with others in your industry through professional meetings and networking functions. Look to  those individuals who know you and have a relationship with you.
  4. Former customers – If you interacted with clients and customers in a previous job, you can ask them for a reference about your abilities and professionalism. They can recommend you on a specific project you did well for them and the positive impact you made on their business.
  5. Former professor or instructor – If you haven’t been in the working world for very long, you can refer back to a former professor to aid in your career search. They can tell prospective employers about your academic abilities, work ethic, previous internships, etc.
  6. Volunteer manager – Volunteering is a great way to build your résumé when you’re between jobs. Seek out those positions that relate to your skills and background, so you can showcase your abilities. The volunteer manager can recommend any good work that you do. Although you aren’t getting a salary for doing volunteer work, you are still doing valuable work.

If you’re currently seeking a new job, view this as an opportunity to have a fresh start and seek something you want to do and will enjoy. Take these six reference possibilities into consideration as you embark on your search. Just remember to get their permission before you list someone as a reference and always send a thank you note for offering their help.