Employers will usually ask for an average of three professional references and one or two personal references.
A professional reference would be someone who has worked with you in a professional capacity, such as a former supervisor, coworker, or professor.
A personal reference would be someone other than a family member who has interacted with you outside of the workplace and can speak to your character, such as a coach, minister, leader from an organization where you volunteered, school counselor, or long-time neighbor.
Before you provide your references’ contact information to an employer, it is imperative that you contact them to request whether they are willing to provide you a recommendation and ask what contact information of theirs you may provide. To avoid any confusion for the employer, make sure that the email addresses and/or phone numbers on your reference page are all up to date.
You will also want to share some information about the job or internship you are applying to and may even want to send them a copy of your resume as a quick reference.
Be sure to thank your references and update them on the progress of your application.
Quick Tip: If you are not applying to jobs or graduate programs just yet but plan to in the near future, you may want to consider asking professors who know you well if they would write you a letter of recommendation or be willing to be a reference for you in the future. If they say yes, then be sure to stay in contact with them and let them know as you apply to positions so they will be prepared for any calls they may receive from your potential employers.