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I am in the field of Mechanical Engineering and I graduated a year and a half ago. While in college I interned at a company and when I graduated that company pulled me on full time. I am now looking to pursue other opportunities, but I am unsure of what to do about references.

Everyone I have worked with is still at this company and I don't want them to know I am looking for a new job. If I quit my job I am sure that anyone there will give me wonderful references, but everyone says not to quit your job before you have a new one.

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    Possible duplicate of How do I get references when still in my first job? – Dukeling Dec 12 '17 at 12:51
  • @Dukeling The "duplicate" talks about who it's best to ask a reference from inside the company, whilst this one talks about how to avoid using a reference from inside the company. Two different questions – Draken Dec 12 '17 at 13:52
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Most potential employers would be understanding in this situation. They will expect that you cannot provide references from your current position.

A couple of potential options come to mind:

  1. Do you have any college references, e.g. a professor from one of your engineering classes? You're early enough in your career that it may still be helpful to list an instructor as a reference.
  2. Do you have any professional contacts in your area of expertise that work for other companies? If so, they may be good alternatives. If not, this is good time to think about beginning to grow your network.
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Most of the time you only need to supply references once you've been offered a job, so you can put "References available on request" on your CV, and supply them when you've been offered & accepted the new position.

Several times when people in my team have resigned, they told me of their resignation and asked me to be a referee in the same conversation - this is quite normal.

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Typically, a new employer will not give a full and final offer without first checking that you really were in your last role that you list in your resume.

You can provide personal references at any point, or even a reference to the job before (if you have had more than one), and this will help you. However, as a potential employer I would want to confirm that you were an X at Y company for Z years like you said you were - because your most recent experience is almost always the most relevant.

To get around this - ask for an offer "pending final references" stating that you will provide details for you last position's reference when you have that offer.

Don't forget - most hiring managers will have been in your shoes at some point, and will be understanding.

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