Some people suggest that these days references are practically useless. It’s difficult to get information out of former employers, most companies are reluctant to go on the record, and personal references are just people that you hand pick to say nice things about you. They’re canned and controlled and virtually meaningless as a way to evaluate you as a potential employee.
Choose individuals that know you well enough to speak knowledgeably about your professional and personal attributes. Select a variety of individuals such as a past boss, a colleague or co-worker, a vendor that knows how you conduct business, etc. Be sure to get permission before you provide someone as a reference.