5 Guidelines For Selecting References For Zimbabwean Jobs


A reference letter is an official document written by a person who is known to a job seeker for the purposes of recommending him and ascertaining his suitability for a particular job to a potential employer. In this competitive world, this document is crucial more so in economies where there are job scarcity such as Zimbabwe. It is therefore important to exercise great caution while selecting the most appropriate reference.

The following thus are the five guidelines for selecting references for Zimbabwean jobs:

a) Identify those that can effectively serve as your references

It is important to enlist only those who are thoroughly known to you and who can similarly discuss your work-related qualities with relative ease and with great precision. Thus the potential references include: faculty members of the educational institutions you attended, current and previous employers and the coaches and advisors especially of the sports and games you did or are currently participating in. Family members, general friends and other acquaintances are to be avoided since they may not offer professional help and support and also given the fact that they may have certain biases and emotional attachments to you, thus rendering their testimonies subjective.

b) Obtain prior permission from the potential referees before using them as your references

This is crucial for the purposes of psychological preparations on their part. It would be disgusting if a potential employer were to call a referee only for him to be shocked about the phone call or take too long to figure out just who you are. Securing their permission further entails furnishing them with a copy of your resume for the sake of consistencies in the testimonies delivered and for an in-depth insight into just what you have to offer.

c) Furnish the referee with specific information or guidelines

Different persons obviously know you differently. A pastor for instance is only knowledgeable about your spiritual qualities; a teacher about your academic qualities; an employer about your professional qualities and so on. It is therefore of utmost importance to furnish the referee with specific information regarding your skills, work experience, capabilities or qualities which he is to testify about when called upon to do so. The traits above have to be furnished within the context in which you interacted with the referee.

d) Acquire the precise contact details of the potential references

Once you have identified the potential references, go a step ahead and obtain all the relevant details concerning them. These include: their official names as contained in official identification documents such as passports; latest contact details such as e-mails, telephone contacts, postal mailing address, physical address and so on; their official titles e.g. Dr., Prof., Mr. and so on; and the context in which you interacted with them such as Class Teacher, Supervisor, Coach e.t.c.

e) Keep your references updated

Since you never know when you will need them again, it is important to keep your references updated of your progress in life or careers. Whenever there is a change of job, location or a promotion, let them know together with all the necessary details accompanying such changes. From time to time, furnish them with the latest copy of your résumé just so that they may know what to say to a potential employer when called upon to do so.


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