So, I am just curious - not currently on the market - about references.

I have worked a few jobs in the US in the time I have been here and should, in theory, have a lot of references. However, of the jobs I have worked a lot have been contract positions and those companies have previously stated that they don't do references for contractors and of my non-contract positions all of my references have died since I took this last position.

So, what should I do for references should I want to move to another company?

  • Thank you for the edit, I was writing the question as I was talking to somebody else and didn't see the spelling issues.
    – Lady_A
    Aug 11, 2020 at 18:32
  • By, "move to another company", you theoretically would intend that in a non-contractor way right?
    – DarkCygnus
    Aug 11, 2020 at 18:34
  • Also, by "all of my references have died", what do you mean?... :0 do you mean that the person that hired you (your previous boss/manager) is no longer there or... well... is no longer able to serve as a reference for you?
    – DarkCygnus
    Aug 11, 2020 at 18:35
  • @DarkCygnus even for contract jobs I need references, but this would be preferably not a contract job, as for what I mean by all my previous references have died is that the people are no longer living for one reason or another.
    – Lady_A
    Aug 11, 2020 at 18:46
  • References don't need to be from "official" company representatives. Do you not have any colleagues, ex-colleagues, coworkers, or ex-coworkers that that can provide a reference for you?
    – joeqwerty
    Aug 11, 2020 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


So, what should I do for references should I want to move to another company?

You state that all of your non-contractor references are no longer able to give you one. However, there must be at least someone from that previous job you had that could help you as a reference.

Perhaps your previous bosses or managers passed away, or are no longer in that position, but I am sure that you should have at least one coworker or acquaintance from that job that could be willing to be your reference.

Yes, it's ideal to list your former managers as references, but if you are unable to do so, including past coworkers is also a valid option.

In any case, when you think of a past coworker/acquaintance that you could list, remember to contact them first to get their permission to list them as references, so they are aware in advance that they may expect a call.

  • Not necessarily about the coworkers. I work primarily as an adjunct teaching for online schools. Literally the only people I interact with are managers/department chairs. I may see other adjuncts' name on a list during online staff meetings but I never really interact with them - certainly not to the point where they could provide a reference. I suspect that contractors in the OP's industry may be similarly siloed.
    – G. Allen
    Aug 11, 2020 at 19:36
  • 1
    @G.Allen how about students or a TA? Aug 11, 2020 at 19:39

If you found the contracts through an agency, they will be able to confirm your employment history.

It's nice to think that a reference will tell a recruiter that you're wonderful but many big companies have HR policies to do no more than confirm your employment dates and job title - all the recruiter needs is to check that you're not lying about your history.

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