Q. I worked for a family-owned business for eight years. Things ended badly between me and them because the owner, the father, wanted me to take over the business but his son wanted to take over instead.

So when the father finally retired and the son was put in charge, it was time for me to go. I could not use the son as a reference and the father has passed on. What should I do?

A. References can be people you worked with who did not supervise you, other managers who know your work, vendors, customers, business partners, bankers, former coworkers and almost anyone who can speak to your knowledge and terrific work.

People you volunteered with can be professional references. Sit back and think about all the people who could serve as references for you. Be sure to talk with them before including them on your references list!