If you’re applying for a job, it’s likely you’ll need a reference. Getting your references lined up before you start a job search is a good idea. Develop a list of people who can recommend you and be ready to share this with prospective employers. Choose Your References Wisely. The person giving you a reference may need to write a letter, fill out a questionnaire, respond to an email, or speak to someone from a potential employer’s human resources department on the phone. If the person doesn’t know you well, it’ll show. Learn more about how to ask for a reference in this article.