What to keep in mind when offering references to an employer

January 01, 2017


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.

When providing references, keep these tips in mind:

  • 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)
  • Follow-up
    • 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.


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