Reference Tips

References should be people who can critique your performance in past employment, education, or community activities, such as: supervisors, professors, volunteer coordinators, advisors, or coaches. Unless specified, three to five contacts are typical for a reference sheet.


  • References should be professional or academic references – no not use parents or close personal friends
  • Ask for permission before using someone as a reference (if there’s any hesitation, don’t use them) and ask them what they might say to a potential employer about you
  • Only submit references to employers when they are requested
  • Let your references know you are in a job search, so they can be prepared if they are contacted