Career Search

What to keep in mind when offering references to an employer

January 01, 2017 by Brandman Career Services


References are personal recommendations from people who are familiar with your work, character, and/or academics to attest you are suitable for a particular employment or education opportunity. Do not include “References available upon request” on your resume. Instead, have a list of references available on a separate document and bring a copy to the interview with you.

Quick tips for providing references

Choose the appropriate reference

  • Your references should be current and relevant. A supervisor from 10 years ago may provide a top notch reference, but an employer will likely wonder why you don't have someone more recent who can provide a similar reference.
  • Select people who know you well enough to be able to positively attest to your skills, character, education and/or experiences. Select people you are sure will say positive things about you.
  • ALWAYS ASK FIRST. Never provide anyone as a reference without first asking and receiving their permission.
  • Be prepared with alternative references should your first choices be unable or unwilling to provide the reference.

Time frame

  • Communicate your time frame to your reference. Will a recruiter be calling them in the next couple of days? Will they receive an e-mail?
  • If you are requesting a written letter, provide enough time for the reference to complete your request (be prepared for at least 3-4 weeks).
  • Be mindful of application deadlines, busy times, and holiday break periods when considering your time frame.

 Requesting a written reference

  • When requesting a written letter, include the following information:
    • Your contact information including name, email address, and phone number
    • Reason for requesting a reference/recommendation letter
    • Highlights and points for the reference to mention
      • Consider including a copy of your resume to provide framework for your request
      • Any specific skills that you would like highlighted that are particularly relevant
    • Contact and mailing information for where the letter is to be sent
    • Type of letter requested (electronic or print)
    • Completed waiver form (if requesting reference from a Brandman faculty or staff)


  • Send a thank you letter to let your reference know you appreciate their time in providing you with a reference letter.
  • Provide an update once you know the status of the education or employment opportunity.



Waiver for Brandman students

Brandman University has a Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Release and Waiver of Student Information Form for Recommendations and References waiver for students to complete who are requesting recommendation/reference letters from Brandman University faculty and staff. A form must be completed for each individual faculty and staff member you are seeking a reference from. Include this completed and signed waiver form with your request. If you are requesting a recommendation from faculty or staff from another school, check with that institution's FERPA policy.



Become a Student

Have questions about enrollment, degree programs, financial aid, or next steps?

Further your education with a few questions

Please enter your zip code to proceed.
Please enter a valid zip code to proceed.
Is this an international zip code?
Please select a degree type
Please select your area of interest
Please select a program type
Please select a session
Please enter your name
Please enter your last name
Please enter your email to proceed
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter your phone number to proceed.
Please enter a valid phone number.

About Brandman

Earn your bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or certificate at Brandman, a regionally accredited university.

We value your privacy

By submitting this form, I agree that Brandman may contact me about educational services by voice, pre-recorded message and/or text message using automated technology, at the phone number provided, including wireless numbers. I understand that my consent is not required to attend Brandman University. Privacy Policy