References and recommendations

When picking your references or asking for recommendations, you want to be selective and professional in dealing with those who will be providing information about you to potential employers.

References

  • References should be listed on a separate sheet of paper, not on your resume or CV.  Use the same header, font, spacing, and paper as your resume.
  • Only submit a list of references if requested by the employer.
  • Bring a copy of your list of references to your interview.  When listing employment references on a reference sheet, use only professional or academic references.  Personal references should never be used unless specifically requested.
  • When approaching someone to be a reference, ask them if they feel comfortable giving a positive reference on your behalf.
  • Inform them of the types of positions for which you plan to apply.
  • Consider giving the reference a copy of your resume and a job description of the position for which you applied.
  • Most organizations call references after you interview or they will inform you that they will be checking references.  This will allow you time to notify your references that they may be getting a call.  At this time, you should tell them about the position you applied for so they can give the reference in light of the position responsibilities.
  • Once you are notified of the outcome of the position, it is courteous to inform your references.
  • Send them a written thank you note for helping you with the application process.

Recommendation Letters

  • When asking for recommendation letters, choose only those individuals who know you well and who can write more than a generic form letter.
  • Develop strong relationships with your professors, colleagues, supervisors, and mentors.  Stay in touch with these individuals as you progress through your career; these relationships will be invaluable to you in the future.

Additional Resources