References and Recommendation Letters Overview

Employers may request a list of references, typically three to five, who can speak to how your education, work, and professional background uniquely qualifies you for the role. When asking individuals to serve as a reference, please provide them with the position description and your application materials, so they can determine whether they can be of help. Once they agree, using the same heading as your resume and cover letter, include their name, current position, the reason they are a reference (current employer, former professor, etc.), and preferred contact information.

Scholarship and graduate school applications often request recommendation letters instead of a list of references. These letters outline how your traits, education, work, and professional background qualify you for a scholarship, graduate school admission, and a position for the few employers who request it. Usually, individuals on your reference list write the letters. Please provide the writer with the application or position description and your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) to ensure the recommendation letter covers what the reader wants to know about you to help decide your candidacy for the role.

Do not include your list of references and recommendation letters with application materials unless requested.