After submitting your application and landing an interview, the final step of the job search process is a reference check, in which the employer contacts people with whom you have had professional and/or academic relationships that can attest to your skills, experience, and work ethic to inform their decision on hiring you.

Who should I list as my references?

Use professional and/or academic references, such as supervisors at part-time jobs, volunteer supervisors, professors you've taken classes with, and even officers in student organizations you belong to. Do not use personal references like family and friends.

How many references should I provide?

List 2-3 professional or academic references, unless an application requires a different number.

Should I notify my references before I apply?

Yes. Notifying all your references before you apply makes them aware of what you're applying for so that they can prepare to give you the best recommendation possible for the specific position.

What information should I provide to my references?

Remind your references of your work and accomplishments by sending them a recent resume as well as a brief note reminding them when you worked for them or what classes you took with them. Include areas of your outstanding performance, such as quality papers projects, or responsibilities in which you excelled. Then, send them descriptions of the position(s) you're applying for, information about the organization, and when you plan on applying. 

When do you give the references to the employer?

Do not provide references on your resume. Only provide references with your application if you are instructed to do so. Otherwise, if you are invited to an interview, bring a hardcopy reference sheet (even if you've already included them in your application) to provide to the hiring manager or committee. To see a sample reference sheet, click here.