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4 References You Can Nail Down—Even if You Don’t Have a Lot of Experience

By | Stacey Lastoe |

Look at you! You’ve got the perfectly polished resumea cover letter for every job you want to apply to, and a personal website outlining your creative pursuits. Your LinkedIn profile’s complete and you’ve cleaned up your social media accounts. You’ve read up on interviewing and have a list of questions to ask at the end.

What you don’t have is a solid list of references, not because there’s anything wrong with you, obviously not. You’re a delight: smart, talented, confident.

The problem is you don’t have a lot of experience. You had exactly one real job that came with a paycheck, and you wouldn’t know how to track down your former manager even if you thought he’d want to talk about how your sundae-making skills have prepared you for the real world. You’re feeling screwed. Your mother would, of course, love to sing your praises, but you doubt that’d go over well with a prospective employer.

What to do then?

First, understand that you’re hardly alone. Plenty of people are facing the same dilemma: They had one summer job but focused on their studies throughout the year and didn’t, gulp, have any internships. There aren’t any former colleagues to put on the list, let alone former bosses.

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