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Thread: When asked for references

  1. #1
    Cyburbian prana's avatar
    Aug 2001
    SERA Architects-Portland

    When asked for references

    When asked for references, should they be only be professional references or should you maybe include a personal reference of someone with whom you have known for about 10 years?

    I would qualify each as "Professional" and "Personal" if I did include both I guess.

    And this is for a small, private planning firm...not a government entity if that matters.
    "You can measure the health of a city by the vitality and energy of its streets and public open spaces.”-- William H. Whyte..

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Jun 2003
    at the neighboring pub
    When I give my reference list, I generally have three professional references and two personal references. I let the employer take their pick on what kind they want to talk to. References have lost their importance somewhat because, with out sue-happy society, few will go beyond saying that you worked there for xx number of years. Personal references are more apt to give details about you, so some employers like those.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
    Nov 2002
    Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve
    I've only listed professional references in the past. I've never been asked for additional personal references.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
    Jun 2003
    De Noc
    I have been lucky to have a reference that covers both personal (20+ yrs) and professional (volunteer 3 + yrs)
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)

    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
    Aug 2005
    Above urban19's plane field
    My last two jobs have been with private firms, and I've only given "professional" references when asked. I've always assumed that I am being asked for profesisonal references, and that the interviewers would specify if they wanted personal references as well.

  6. #6

    May 1997
    Williston, VT
    "Professional" only as far as this employer of planners is concerned, but I can say that volunteer activities have figured prominently in our last two recruitments, so you shouldn't hesitate to include a reference who knows you as a volunteer. I also tend to have a relatively broad definition of "professional." For example, I had an applicant I really liked who had done some volunteer work that wasn't in planning or conservation, but that did involve community organizing around other issues. I think that sort of thing counts, and could be the source of a reference, with most employers.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    I would say professional, but not be rigid on this. For instance, I have a good friend who has started and managed a couple businesses, and is now a real estate broker and commercial property manager. His experience is of interest to someone hiring an economic developer, and he has knowledge of my abilities in understanding small business and in commercial property development.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Blog entries


    I think they need both to get a good picture of the person. You can bet that the feds and law enforcement look to personal as much or more than professional references Way back when I got a summer internship with the US State Dept., the secret service talked with all my buddies and family before giving top secret clearance.
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

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