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Resume Reference and Letter of Recommendation

References are available on request

This is a standard tag line which has lost much of its meaning. No harm done if you elect to scratch this reminder to employers. If checking references is important to an employer, they will ask you for names and addresses whether you indicated this on your resume or not. What you may want to do is to create a separate sheet to your resume that would list only your references. Only provide the reference sheet to employers who ask for it. On the reference sheet include:

Reference name and title
Organization they work for
Address (street, city, state, zip)
Work phone
Home phone (check with your reference first)
Internet address (if appropriate)
A brief statement telling how they know you

You should always ask permission of persons serving as your references before providing their name and contact information to an employer.

References are an important part of your credentials and you should choose your references with care. Have at least three people who can speak on your behalf. Faculty with whom you have studied and supervisors from present and previous employment are the best references to use if you are seeking employment. Faculty are the best references for graduate schools. Do not use any personal references, i.e., friends. If prospective employers request personal references, be prepared to provide them for that particular employer.

If a letter is required, ask only those individuals who know you well enough to write a meaningful reference. Hand them a copy or draft of your resume, this is not only a courtesy but also helps them direct their reference to your own plans. Be sure you tell the reference writer what it is you are seeking -- employment or graduate school. It is always helpful to hand your reference a description of the job or graduate program. It is also helpful to agree upon a date by which your reference writers expect to have completed and returned your references. When possible, be sure you give your reference a good amount of lead time.

Finally, if you have established a credential file with your career center, it is up to you to check periodically with them to make sure all your references are in.

How and when to use Letter of Recommendation

When asked by potential employers for references, give them your one-page listing of references, along with contact names, addresses and phone numbers. But your list should also include the individual letters of recommendation that each reference has already given you. Many employers will actually completely forego formal reference checking when they have a letter of recommendation from your listed reference. Result? You have control of the reference check and it will shorten the hiring process.


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