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How to get a job without references

Job search Aug 4, 2022

Many potential employers will ask you to provide them 1 or 2 references which will showcase or actually prove your hard and soft skills. But, depending on your past work career experiences, that these documents could be difficult to be acquired.  

If you're having trouble getting your foot in the door because you don't have any professional references, don't lose hope! With these tips and a little tenacity, you can get through that initial screening process and land an interview.

Check below all the 7 ways you can make it happen!

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How to get a job without references

Before we start, though, let's see some definitions in order to be on the same page!

What is a reference for a job application?

References are mostly written from a past employer of yours. It can also be written from a colleague, a teacher, and generally some other supervisor that was working with you.

When someone will you to provide him/her with a reference, then make sure to choose a person that can actually talk in favour of you and not the opposite. I hope it's logical!

Finally, if the reference is coming from a work different from the one you are applying right now, then it's better to consider it twice if you will provide it to your future employer. The reason for that, is because it won't showcase the appropriate skills.

Why employers ask for it?

References can help employers to gain a larger viewpoint on your work behaviours, skills and mindset. Between us, if though we are bored by gathering these references, everyone in their position as employers, would love to get to know you better before a possible interview.

It's a great way for them to understand your character and work behaviour. To actually verify your previous working experience or even education. And to check your hard and soft skills in a sense of understanding and verification.

Now let's check the 7 ways to get a job without references, below!

1. Focus on other things.

There are many things you can do to help yourself when it comes to getting a job without references. One of the most important things is to focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses. As this will be what employers want to hear about in interviews, rather than any potential problems that you might have had at previous jobs.

Check also the article: "Interview Question: “What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?"

Working with people who've been in similar situations has proven very helpful for some applicants who are applying without references. Many of these individuals agree that focusing on other aspects of their work history helps them get hired quickly and easily. Because they're able to prove themselves even without having an employer vouching for them or providing recommendations from past coworkers or managers, according to CareerBuilder's survey results.

2. Take personality tests.

Personality testing is a great way to get the ball rolling when it comes to landing a job. These tests can help you determine what your best qualities are, and they'll give you insight into which careers would be best for your personality. This information can make all the difference in finding a job that suits you perfectly.

An example of a personality test that is trusted globally, is super accurate and is my favourite among many others is called 16 Personalities. It is totally free, and the results will surprise you with the analysis that follow them! Why am I proposing though this tip?

The reason is not so clear, but it helped me when it was needed to prove my personality, my strengths and weaknesses and why the job position I applied for, was ideal for me, and it was compatible with my future goals. Super important factor for an employer seeking a stable long-term employee!

3. Find a mentor.

If you're struggling to find a job without any professional references, consider actively seeking out someone who can help guide you through the process. A mentor will help with everything from resume writing and interview preparation to networking and getting in the door!

Find a mentor.

They'll be able to give you advice on what employers are looking for in applicants, so that when it comes to the time for your interview, you know exactly how to best impress them!

You can also use for a reference, after a while, and after you have developed a trustworthy and succeeding relationship, from your mentor! It's listed in the professional references among with current managers, former managers, team leaders etc.

4. Develop your portfolio of work.

If you are a young graduate or just starting out in your career, it is common to not have a reference from past employers yet. You can develop your portfolio of work experience to showcase some of the projects that you have done, and the skill sets that you have developed in the past.

Any professional can have a work portfolio in order to showcase their best work! For example, any type of writer can have a portfolio of his/her best articles, the best performance based copy or blog post and their published work. A web designer can include his/her best designs. An architect can include his/her best samples of a finished work. And the list goes on.

The format can be from images, to PDFs and video. It really doesn't matter, as long as it's your best shot to impress your future employers.

5. Showcase your work experience in other ways.

You can also show employers that you're a valuable asset to their company by showcasing your skills and experience in other ways. For example, if you've learned new skills or certifications since leaving your previous job, mention them in an interview. You could also highlight the ways in which you helped your employer grow or improve during your time there.

Volunteering for a cause or community organization is another great way to showcase how much of an impactful employee you are, and the more involved you are with these things, the higher chance employers will have of getting a good sense of who they'll be working with in the long-term!

Finally, don't forget about improving on personal projects! Whether it's whipping up some homemade meals every week or learning how to play a guitar solo at lightning speed (okay, maybe not that last one), showing employers how much effort goes into making yourself a better person will make them see just how dedicated and determined they can expect from having hired someone like YOU!

6. Write a persuasive cover letter

Writing a cover letter is a very common document that job application are requesting. Most of the people are having a draft document as a general cover letter, and they are modifying it for every application in order to be more specific. This is the method I follow as well.

Writing a persuasive cover letter is not an easy and most of the time a pleasant task. The most important of it though is the research. You need to check and research the company you are applying for, thoroughly.

You need to include your strengths, your experiences and your motivation to work there! They need to be persuaded from you. Try to think from a hiring's manager and employer's viewpoint. Has your cover letter covered everything, so concerns won't be risen? Is there any gap from your past work storytelling?

Use simple language and check for grammar and spelling mistakes.

7. How to get a job quick and easy

You can easily find jobs specifically tailored for your skills by using the LoopCV tool. The LoopCV tool scans for jobs that are suitable for you and helps you send applications. As a professional, you can save the time and stress used to apply for jobs on jobs platforms by using the LoopCV tool.

Job services take you more than a step closer to your desired job. But with LoopCV tool, you are one interview away from that job.

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I hope that this article helped you understand how to get a job without references, and gave you some useful tips on how to do it. If the job you want requires a reference from someone who isn't willing or able to give one, don't be discouraged!

Keep putting yourself out there in positive ways so that when opportunities arise for which references aren't required (or don't matter), they'll be there waiting for you.

A last tip, a general one: If possible, try applying for jobs that are aligned with what interests/piques your curiosity most. This could mean applying at companies where there’s very little chance of getting hired, but also means there’s less competition!

You can also read our articles on "How to conduct a job search" and "Creative Ways to Stand Out in a Job Interview"


Zoi Kotsou

Copywriter - Content writer - Content Strategist

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