Almost all jobs require candidates to provide either references from previous employers or personal references to demonstrate how they would be suitable for a role; however, as the candidate, it can be a useful exercise to write your own reference – not for submission to a prospective employer! – to help you to focus on your skills and strengths and make sure the job you are applying for is the job you want.
Before the interview
Before you decide whether to apply for a job, you may find that writing a reference for yourself can help you to decide whether a specific job is for you or help you to see that perhaps you are not the most suitable person. The process of writing down the skills and knowledge you possess and assessing whether you have the right attributes for a role can help you to see where you may be falling short; in addition, it will enable you to assess where you might need additional experience or qualifications that could make you a more suitable candidate.
Preparing for the interview
If you have applied for a job and have been fortunate enough to be called in for an interview, the process of writing a reference for yourself can also help you to prepare for the interview process, which for some people can be quite daunting. You need to try to expand your knowledge of the company or organisation that is interviewing you by looking online and finding out as much as you can about the company and the type of people it employs. This will enable you to see whether you would be a good fit for the organisation and its culture.
Make sure you understand the sort of person the organisation is looking for to fill the role in terms of skills, qualifications and experience, and try to write a reference for yourself that shows how you fit this description. Use your strengths to demonstrate how you would add value and become an asset to an existing team.
The process of writing your own reference – even if it is not for submission – should help you to focus on why you want the job and the benefits you could bring to the role and organisation. This exercise will help you to decide whether the job is the one you want; if it is, it can also help you to secure it.
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