I know there have been question asked about references. However my question is NOT about what to do in the case of having no references. My question is about having references but not the ones specifically asked for.

I'm trying to apply for a part time job and on the job application, the three references they ask for specifically are two from previous supervisors and one from a previous co-worker.

I do have three references ( one from an academic adviser, a former teacher, and the person I worked for as a nanny) but other than that I'm stuck. I did try to ask a person I volunteered with a few years ago for a reference but I have yet to hear back from her.

My question is how important is it to have the specific references asked for? Is it more important to just put what you have or to keep seeking what the potential employer is asking for? Do I just put the three references I have down and try to explain to the manager why I don't have the co-worker reference when I turn in the application?

  • 1
    Related: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/3127/… and have you searched the site for 'references'? – user8036 Sep 18 '14 at 7:02
  • I have searched the site for references but I didn't see anything that specifically addressed having references but not having one the company is asking for in particular. – LisW Sep 18 '14 at 8:06

Right now, your immediate concern is to list someone - You can clarify with the explanations when you are interviewed. You have two options:

  1. Provide the third reference, and explain at the interview the situation as you just did.

  2. Put in your minister's name or our doctor's name - they can vouch for your personality - explain at the interview that the third reference is a character reference and that the co-worker you were counting on as third reference has shown no sign of life.

In terms of style: you are providing an explanation, not making excuses. So your tone must be firm and your voice must be clear. No diffidence or hesitation allowed.

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