By Idu Mwawa. Your referees are very important in the job seeking process. In Malawi, it is NOT recommended to hide referees in a Cv by writing “Referees are available on request” Most people focus on presenting their qualifications, skills and experience and spend little time deciding who should be their referees. But choosing a good referee can make all the difference. If you choose the wrong person, you might be rejected from jobs that were perfect for you. WHAT DO REFEREES DO? Referees provide extra information that lets a potential employer know about your work history, your skills and experience. This information reinforces what you have written on your Cv by giving someone else’s word that your claims are accurate. However, your referee can also be asked to give an opinion on your character, commenting on factors such as your reliability and punctuality. Occasionally employers ask for a character reference only, but usually they want to hear about aspects of your work history and your character. WHO CAN BE YOUR REFEREE? The best people to be your referees are:
  •  Current/Former employers, especially a mentor or boss
  • Your Teacher/Lecturer/Tutor.
DO NOT CHOOSE: A friend  or a neighbor (unless they have specific knowledge of your work). The best referees are people who know you well, so pick the person you worked most closely with at your last job, or the lecturer who you got on best with. Obviously it helps if you had a friendly working relationship with them too. Choose someone who will write a sympathetic reference and be as positive about you as possible. HOW TO CHOOSE THEM? It is good etiquette to ask for people’s permission to act as your referee before giving their name to a potential employer. Some people will act as referee for you for several years. Others might be only suitable when you apply for a particular type of job. Think about what each person can say about you and whether their knowledge of you is relevant to the particular job you’re applying for. You must give your referees’ names and contact details at the bottom of your CV. HOW MANY DO I NEED? Most people have two referees. However, a few jobs ask for three referees so make sure that you have a reserve that you can call on. I’m Idu Mwawa, God Bless You All.

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