Employment References 1. Who Should Serve as Your References? • Ask people who have a positive opinion of you and who can describe your work-related qualities and personal characteristics. • Past and present employers usually know about your reliability, initiative and ability to work with others. This information is valuable, even if your employment was not career-related. • Faculty members know about your academic ability, productivity, and timeliness, and perhaps have observed how you work with others. • Advisors and coaches may be aware of information about you that could be relevant to a potential employer - such as maturity, initiative, interpersonal skills or leadership qualities. • Don’t list references who only know you in a social capacity or are simply friends of your family.
2. Getting Permission • Never give someone’s name as a reference without securing that person’s permission in advance. • Verify spelling of names, titles, and all contact information for your references. • Give each person who agrees to serve as a reference for you a copy of your resume (or vita). This lets your references know about your interests, abilities and experiences. A faculty member may know your academic skills and an employer may know your on-the-job characteristics, but each may not be aware of the other facets of your background. Keeping your references well informed will help them serve as better references for you. • Keep your references posted on your activities and progress. Tell your references the names of persons and organizations to whom you’ve given their names. • When possible, give them a copy of the job description for the positions for which you are applying. This helps your references be prepared for phone calls and letters they may receive. • Thank each reference in writing for his/her assistance.
3. When to Give Your Reference List to a Prospective Employer • Provide reference information when you are asked to provide it. If you reach the interview stage and have not been asked for reference information, you may want to offer it. • Generally do not send reference information with your resume unless it has been requested. • Contacting references is time consuming, and most employers will do some initial screening of candidates - by reviewing the resume and perhaps conducting interviews - before contacting references. • For most undergraduates, employers will not be contacting references prior to interviewing you.
5. What Should References Say? Encourage them to mention:
• Capacity in which they know/knew you (i.e., summer intern and she was the supervisor), • Time frame of the relationship (i.e., summer of 2006 or has known the candidate for four years), and • Positive qualities demonstrated in the position (i.e., visited work sites, designed floor plans on CAD, and presented proposals to clients). Adapted from Virginia Tech’s 2007-2008 Career Planning Guide. Sample Reference List Ima Pirate firstname.lastname@example.org Current Address 1234 Fifth Street Greenville, NC 27858 (252) 555-0987
Permanent Address 201 Pirate Drive Raleigh, NC 27613 (919) 555-4563
References Dr. Jane Doe Professor East Carolina University College of Human Ecology East Fifth Street Greenville, NC 27858 (252) 231-5555 email@example.com Mr. Walter Randolph Assistant Store Manager Walmart 210 Greenville Blvd., SW Greenville, NC 27834 (252) 555-2045 firstname.lastname@example.org Ms. Jane Wilson Department Manager, Cosmetics Saks Fifth Avenue 7700 Old Wake Forest Road Raleigh, NC 27616 (919) 555-8211 email@example.com
4. Where to List References • On a resume DON’T. It is unnecessary to state “References available upon request” - and is often a waste of valuable space - because most employers assume you can supply references. They expect them on a separate page when requested. • On a curriculum vitae DO list references. It is customary practice to include your reference list on this document.
Make sure the address header matches your resume address header.
The Career Center CAREER SUCCESS GUIDE www.ecu.edu/career 39