Personal References

Making Connections

If you've ever had to pick people for your group or team, chances are you asked your friends to recommend people they know.  In much the same way, recent studies indicate that nearly 80% of the postiions available are filled through personal referrals.  Networking is nothing more than talking with people who can provide you with information, advice, resources, and possible contacts related to your fields of interest.  You may also find that a connection can create new job opportunities with you in mind.  Develop your connections to learn about opportunities beyond the experience you may have gained through an internship or on-campus interview.

Choosing References

Prospective employers use the process of checking references as a method to validate your skills and abilities for a particular position. The employer's goal when contacting one of your references is to gain some additional insight about your work ethics and capabilities. Your job in obtaining references is to make sure that the individuals you choose project the very best impression of your attributes and abilities.

Some basic things to remember when choosing references are:

  1. Plan to acquire between three and five references for a job application. Make sure there is a balance of academic, employer and personal (leadership team advisor, coaches, etc.) references. Identify these individuals early in your college career.
  2. Do not offer anyone’s name as a reference unless you have explicit permission from the individual.
  3. Do not ask anyone to be a reference that you do not think will be able to respond to a potential employer in a timely manner.

When asking someone to be a reference, let them know what you will be applying for as well as what should be expected of them. When possible, provide your reference with a description of the job as well as your career objectives and how you plan to meet the needs of the employer. Keep your references posted on the status of your application so they are prepared and not surprised by a call from an employer. Always thank your references as a follow-up.

Reference Page Guidelines

  1. Include a references page with your resume a cover letter.
  2. Make sure contact information for each reference is correct.
  3. Use a separate page for references – it should not be an extension of your resume document.
  4. Format your reference page to match your résumé. Include your personal information (i.e. name, address, phone, and e-mail) at the top of you reference page and treat “References” as a heading.

When providing reference information, include:

  • Name of Reference
  • Position
  • Title
  • Company Affiliation
  • Company Address
  • Business Phone and Extension
  • E-Mail Address (if used)