• A professional person. Unless requested, do not select friends to serve as "character" references
  • Someone who can talk about your skills, experience, abilities, and work ethic
  • A potential employer may call them and ask questions 

Choosing Your References

  • Choose people whom you have asked in advance to serve as references
  • Be sure to ask individuals who will provide honest, candid, and positive recommendations 
  • Ask others at the beginning of your job search if they will serve as a reference for you during this particular search (if you search for another job in the future you will need to ask again)  

After They Have Agreed

  • Give them a copy of your resume. Ask them for advice or feedback. Talk to them about your career goals so they will be more prepared to talk to a potential employer in a helpful way.
  • Remember that people have busy lives. If there are deadlines for writing letters or completing forms, be sure to tell your references. Check in with them if necessary. While doing so, be respectful and gracious of their other obligations. 
  • Let your references know when you have interviewed for a position and that they may be called to be a reference at that point. Send them the job description of the position and your updated resume you used to apply for the position. 

Reference List

For each reference you should list their: 

  • Full Name
  • Email
  • Work Address
  • Work Phone Number 
  • Role or Position 
  • Relationship to You

When You Accept Your New Position

Always follow up with your references when you have accepted the position. Send them a thank you note telling them about your new opportunity.

References Sample

Header Section

First Name Last Name

1324 W. Wisconsin Ave. - Milwaukee, WI 53233 - 414-288-7423 -


Dr. Sally Wilcox

Assistant Professor of History
Marquette University 
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Professor for one class and my curriculum advisor for three years. 


Dr. Ken Smiley

Professor of Political Science
Marquette University 
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Professor of my advanced seminar course and advisor to my international relations project. 


Mr. Jordan Jameson

Office Manager
Background Check Department
Wisconsin Department of Intelligence
100 Wisconsin Avenue 
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Supervisor and trainer for my Department of Intelligence Internship.


Ms. Angelique Brown

Volunteer Supervisor
Teen Service Club
20111 W. Wells Street 
Milwaukee, WI 53225

My supervisor and mentor for working with troubled teens.