Lacking Resume References

- Joel Spackman
(Lewiston, Utah)

What does a nice guy do about references for his resume when all he has done in his life are terrible production line jobs?

It has been either quitting to try and go somewhere for more money, or getting laid off repeatedly because I'm not 20-something anymore.

My best years peaked at 40 years old. Ever since then, all I try to do is the best I can do. It is hard to keep pace with the younger ones. I am 54 and try very hard, but keep getting laid off. At 10 dollars an hour it is very hard to keep a home.

I long for the outdoors and being able to be me, a nice and very friendly person. My wife, also.

What references could we use from people who never cared about us, just the almighty dollar?

Our dream is to work camp and be free from the rat race, and be able to serve others with a great big smile on our faces.

Thanks for letting me dream,

Comments for Lacking Resume References

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Use Non Employment References

Hi Joel,

Don't put references on your resume.

If a prospective employer asks you for references, give references that are not related to your past employment.

Your resume should focus on what you can do for your employer. List your personality traits that make you right for the job. List your skills that you would use on the new job. Include training that would be useful on the new job.

None of those need come from your past jobs.

However, no matter what jobs you've held, or for how long, you probably gained skills valuable to an employer -- such as following directions and arriving at work on time. Petty? No. Absolutely no. Those very basic skills and values are exactly what many employers are looking for and are having trouble finding.

When it's time for the job interview, take along a "cheat sheet" that lists your employment history and your references. (They are two different things.) This is not something you'll give to the interview. It is list with the pertinent information on it so that if they do want to know about your past job history, of if they specifically ask for references, you have the information handy.

Human resource departments may be limited to only verifying that you worked somewhere between certain dates. They may have restrictions prohibiting them from giving out any other personal information about you. Whether your supervisor cared or not, or even remembers who you were, becomes irrelevant, at least as far as references go. Rather than listing the name of your supervisor, simply list the business and the contact info for the human resources department.

What do you want your references to show? Honesty? Stability? That you care about people? Your values in general? Who do you know who can attest to those sorts of things?

Are you a member of a home-owner's association, community or fraternal organizations, or any hobby clubs? You might list an officer of those groups. Consider your landlord. Or, your church pastor or choir director. Or, someone you've done business with for many years. Have you done any volunteer work? Are you a regular customer at any independently owned shop? A business owner (i.e. campground owner) may consider a recommendation coming from another business owner more worthwhile than one from the human resources department of a large company.

Focus on what you can do. Start taking action to turn that dream into reality. We'll look for that big smile of yours as we visit campgrounds and other work camping venues.

Lacking References

I think you should contact the previous supervisor and ask if that supervisor could be used as a positive reference.

Even for production line work, were you reliable, diligent & serious about your job, worked on that job for several years, and spoke highly (or at least not negatively) about your previous employer?

List "References available on request".

Good luck!

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