I am a stay at home mom of 2. My husband is the only one that works but we would like to change that, but I don't have any references for jobs, none, period. should I not even bother looking for work? or what can I do for the applications since I don't have any references because all job applications ask for them now.. I've tried putting down family but it never gets me a job. My problem is I have no references but I need to get a job to help my husband support us and our 2 kids.

  • 3
    You should add the field that you are interested in. Getting a job at a fast food joint probably won't require references.
    – jmoreno
    Oct 11, 2015 at 16:31
  • This might be relevant - workplace.stackexchange.com/a/46982/2322 - depending on what your desired career path is, a lot of the steps I list there are possibly beneficial for you too.
    – enderland
    Oct 11, 2015 at 22:38

3 Answers 3


As you've discovered, it's hard to get hired when you've never had a job before. There are three routes that I can suggest.

  1. Volunteer. Find a local charity which is looking for help. It won't necessarily earn you any money, but it will help you get used to what the modern workforce is like - and they will be able to provide you with references.
  2. Your local government may have a "Labour Exchange" or "Job Centre". Go to them and explain that you want to work. They should be able to help you write your CV / Resume. They will know which local employers are willing to take on new recruits with no references.
  3. Telephone local job agencies. Again, explain your situation. They may know who in the area is hiring people with your skills.

Best of luck!

  • Some community college and similar courses aim to prepare students for the work place, and successful completion may lead to references. Oct 11, 2015 at 14:49
  • 3
    I definitely agree with #1. Jessica, as a stay-at-home mom, I'm guessing there's a strong chance you've been involved in your community in some way - church, school, soccer, girl scouts, etc. References don't need to be from a job; they just need to have knowledge of your work ethic and interpersonal skills.
    – David K
    Oct 12, 2015 at 12:12

You probably have references but don't really know it. Do you interact with anyone beside your husband/children? Even if it is in passing such as church, school's children's parents, your husband's friends, etc? The references don't have to be a prior co-worker, just someone who can vouch for your character. Most reference calls simply ask if they know X and what they think about X. Heck they probably won't even call them.

Of course it entirely depends on your line of work. It's unclear in your question if you were rejected a position solely on the fact you have no references. I find that highly doubtful unless you are making a huge deal about it and someone may find that suspicious.

I personally think you not getting job interviews/offers is solely based on the fact you have no prior work experience. It's also unclear if you have any educational/training background or what field you're trying to go in. I'm 99% positive that is your issue unless you walk into a interview and make a huge deal about the references which would most likely raise suspicions.


You have to put people who know you well, and can vouch for you. They don't need to be proffessionals in the domain which you are applying in.

As the nice answers here suggested, you can include anyone from your neighbourhood/volunteer group, etc. Any person who can vouch for you as being hireable

However, you might also want give them a headsup forehand, so that they know what they can/need to tell about you when the call comes. Inform them about the company and the role, ao that they can add in some more nice words of their own about your skills(and/or soft skills).

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