When you're applying for jobs, an old boss is the best reference to have. That's not always possible if they're still your boss or you didn't end on great terms.

Before you ask a friend to lie and pretend to be your ex-boss, here are three other people you should think about:

  • Old supervisor. Meaning they weren't your boss, but they were more senior than you were. If they like you, and worked with you enough to get a sense of your work ethic, then they might be a good reference.
  • Old co-worker. Colleagues are good references too. Even if they weren't your supervisor, they can vouch for you and talk about stuff you worked on together.
  • Old teachers. They're a great reference for younger people just out of school. They can talk about the skills you picked up, and about the kind of person you are. Or an academic advisor can also be a good reference too, if you spent a lot of time with them.

If none of those work, just think of someone else who knows you well, and can talk about why you'd be a good hire. Maybe a church leader, or someone you volunteered with. An old family friend could work too. Just don't use a family member unless you actually worked for them.

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