Listing references is an essential aspect of a job application. Some employers will only consider you for the subsequent phases of the recruitment process if you provide adequate references.
Usually, employers seek professional references like former managers, employers, coworkers, or someone from your academic domain, like former teachers and deans. However, if you are applying for your first job, you may not have professional references.
In such cases, is it reasonable to list a friend as a reference?
The answer to this question depends on several factors. Ideally, your recruiters will seek professional references, and they might not consider a friend as a reference because they will assume that your friends are bound to say good things about you.
In such cases, if you are listing a friend as a reference, you need to portray that your friend is neutral and will give an honest appraisal rather than simply using superlatives, as they are your friend.
In this article, we have mentioned the most important steps to list a friend as a reference.
Can You Use a Friend as a Reference?
Yes, you can use a friend as a reference unless the company you are applying to has strict rules to the contrary. Suppose they mention the references they seek on the website or the application portal. In that case, check whether they would accept a friend as a reference.
A friend would be considered someone with whom you have no professional ties, and your friendship is entirely personal. However, determining how to list that friend can change everything.
On the other hand, there are people with whom you may have a professional relationship. But they could have become good friends over time. For example, a former colleague may have become your friend over time, and even though you no longer work together, you stay in touch as friends.
In such cases, you may list your friend as a former coworker while citing their name and designation as reference. There is no need to mention you are friends, and you can introduce them as former coworkers, which is very much accepted as a reference.
Why Do Some Recruiters Want Personal Reference?
Some recruiters will consider personal references because they are keen to know you as a person. Only a friend can say how you are a person and how you connect to others.
Employers who are mindful of inclusivity, and are keen to keep away gender bias or toxic traits from their workspace, want broad-minded employees who can be team players.
They know they can teach you the technical aspects of the job, but they want to see whether you can uphold the work culture. And a friend can shed light on your personality for them to decide that.
Should You Mention on Your Resume That Your Reference is A Friend?
No, there is no need to mention separately in the resume that your reference is a friend. You do not have to mention anything about your friendship. If your friend has been working in the industry for a long time, then citing their company name and designation will make them a professional reference.
However, there are two possible scenarios where you can list your friend as a personal reference.
1. Your Friend Does Not Belong to The Industry
Suppose your friend does not belong to a different industry and is in no position to have any knowledge about the kind of job role you are expected to fulfill. In that case, their opinion will matter very little.
If you are applying for the digital analyst role and your friend is a teacher, your friend wouldn’t have the technical understanding to judge whether you will be good at your job.
Hence, you can cite them under personal reference, and they can talk about your traits and character and say if you will be a good employee.
2. What if You Are Starting Your Career?
If you are starting your career and need professional references, you can cite personal references instead.
Your employer will completely understand this if you are applying for the position of an intern. They will reach out to your friend and will be able to deduce a relatively accurate picture of whether you will be a good fit for the company.
How to Choose a Friend as a Reference?
Since a friend will fall under the category of personal preference, you shouldn’t rely only on them as references. Adding two or more professionals alongside one personal reference alongside references would be advisable.
1. Determining Which Friend to Choose
The first step towards choosing a friend to be your reference is ensuring they can play the role well. Do they know how to communicate professionally? Do they have your best interest at heart?
Will they get the point across without sounding partial because they are your friend? Have you always had a cordial relationship, or has it been transactional? All these questions will help you determine whether the friend would be appropriate as a reference.
2. Requesting The Friend
The next step is to request your friend to be your reference. If they agree, ask them how they would like to be contacted and when they are available for communication when the recruiters try to reach out to them. After all, even though they are your friends, they may not want to mix personal and professional relationships and vice versa.
3. Provide a Job Description
It is crucial to provide your friend with the job description and details about the position you have applied for. It will help them prepare what they can say about you that will make you seem like a viable candidate for the position.
For example, you may have applied for the accountant position, but all your friend knows about you is that you are good at painting! That could be a problem. It would help if you made your friend aware of your job profile.
4. Update Contact Information
Ensure you put your friend’s updated contact information on the reference sheet. If you are close, you might communicate primarily through calls or texts, and you may have no idea that they have changed their email.
Also, ask for alternate ways to contact them, like an alternate phone number. It will ensure your recruiters can reach your friend easily.
5. Thank Your Friend
Most importantly, express your gratitude to your friend for being your reference. They may be your friend, but thanking them means you are not taking your friendship for granted.
Your friend is not obligated to do this for you, yet they will do it for the cordial and warm relationship you share with them. If you land the job, remember to give your friend a treat.
How to List a Friend as a Reference?
Some recruiters are not open to receiving personal references and only seek professional ones. A certain way of listing your friend as a reference will make it look more professional, and your recruiters won’t dismiss it immediately as a personal reference.
- Mention your friend’s name.
- Follow it with the name of the organization where they work, along with their designation.
- Mention their work experience.
- Add a few lines about how you know them. If you met them through professional channels, mention that.
- Add their contact details, including updated email and phone number.
- Mention when they are available to be contacted.
Points to Remember While Choosing a Friend as a Reference
While a good friend will only have good things to say about you, keeping a few things in mind while choosing a friend as a reference is vital.
1. Make Sure Your Friends Are The Perfect Reference
Be sure your friends will be the perfect reference for you. There are times when someone you have been very friendly with will not have much to say about you when it truly matters. You would want to avoid such a person interacting with your recruiter.
2. Your Friend Has an Online Presence
Ensure that your friend has a good online presence. Choose someone who has a strong and clean online presence. Many times, some stringent recruiters will not only look you up but also look up your references.
For example, if the only photos of your friend online are those where he is partying out drunk, they are not the right choice.
3. Your Friend Should Avoid Being Fake
Do not tell your friend to speak everything good about you, or at least not to do it in a way that seems superficial and biased. Your recruiters should not feel that just because they are friends, they only say good things about you.
Instead, ask them to say something more in keeping with your personality but highlighting aspects that they truly believe are good about you.
Your friend can be your biggest asset and strongest reference when done correctly. Asking your friend to portray a fake picture of yourself before the employers to increase your chances of getting a job may prove counterproductive.
Tell your friend to be realistic about you and be professional. Your employers are experienced, and they will be able to tell when a friend speaks highly of you because they truly believe it. That will increase your chances, and your friendship will grow as well.