Three Reasons to Use Past Coworkers as References When Applying to Jobs


When compiling a list of references to share with prospective employers, the first instinct is to provide contact information of previous managers or mentors. Supervisors are the most commonly presented references, since they can provide valuable insight into your work ethic and professional development. However, references from your past coworkers can increase confidence in your abilities as well.

Is adding coworkers from previous jobs to the list of potential references a wise decision? Consider these three reasons:

1. Coworkers Know Your Work Better than Anyone

People who worked by your side know the effort you put in, even when the manager is not watching. They see your attention to detail, willingness to go the extra mile and eagerness to pitch in when needed most. Former coworkers can speak to your ability to take on leadership responsibilities and do what it takes to get the job done.

2. Coworkers Have First Hand Experience Working With You

The fact that people are willing to speak on your behalf can indicate you are a team player. Some of the most critical factors an employer takes into consideration are culture and the ability to work toward a common goal. Employees who do not fit in can harm morale, possibly triggering turnover, and hampering productivity. If former coworkers can speak about you positively and enthusiastically, it can put hiring managers’ minds at ease.

3. Coworkers Can Provide a Well-Rounded Viewpoint

Adding coworkers to your reference list gives potential architecture, engineering and construction employers a complete view of you as an employee. Select coworkers who have seen you in a variety of situations and choose the appropriate reference when the time comes. Speak to them ahead of time to discuss what to expect and what you would like them to highlight. Contact them again when you give their names to an employer so that they are not taken off guard.

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A career in construction administration and management can be (and for me has been) one of constant transition. It’s rather common that employment with a given company starts and finishes with each successive project; you’re a new hire as it’s just getting “out of the ground,” then finished and looking for a new project (and Read More…

Greg Wangler, Pentagon Construction Management Division

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