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References & Referees | The Careers Service References & Referees – Oxford University Careers Service
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Choosing referees

When you choose your referees, make sure they are well informed about what you are applying for and why – try to choose individuals who will write you the best references. They should always be the people who will be best able to attest credibly to your talents in a professional/academic capacity. Always check with the referees beforehand to get their agreement.

Unless you are applying for an academic job or further study, you will typically need two referees. As a student, you should normally get a tutor and a past employer, if possible. They should not be relatives. If possible, let your referee know when you need the reference returned by.

Whether to provide references

If referees are asked for explicitly, make sure you provide their names and contact details. By not doing so you may fail to comply with the minimum requirements that have been set by the employer as part of their recruitment process and, in any event, are likely to raise the employer’s suspicion in terms of your former studies or work history.

However, if they are not explicitly asked for, many people now do not add referees to the end of a CV (or sometimes state ‘References available on request’), trusting that references will then only be requested by an organisation that is seriously considering your application.

One advantage of leaving them off is that referees’ details can take up valuable space on a CV. They will normally be asked for at a later date – or on a separate application form – if the recruiter is interested in you.

However, if the names alone of your references convey the strength of your application, for example if you are applying for an academic position and your referee is well known for his or her research in the relevant subject, it might be wise to leave them on!

References and rights

Does a previous employer have to provide a reference?

There is no legal obligation on an employer to provide a reference for an employee or an ex-employee. Employers are therefore entitled to refuse to provide a reference. However, an employer should have a consistent policy on providing references otherwise it could be at risk of an allegation of discrimination.

Can a referee provide a bad reference?

If you have any doubts about whether a referee will be able to highlight your strengths, discuss the matter with them in advance. Very few referees will ever give a ‘bad’ reference, if they’ve accepted the responsibility of giving a reference, but they might give a vague one if they haven’t known you well, or recall you only faintly!

Ultimately, there is a duty on those giving a reference to take reasonable care to ensure that the information it contains is true, accurate and fair. This therefore does not prevent the referee giving a bad reference, so long as it is accurate and a reasonable reflection on work related matters.

Can I check what a referee writes about me?

There is no obligation on your previous employer or education provider to give you a copy of the reference they have sent to your prospective employer. However, you can request a copy from the organisation that receives the reference, subject to their duties to any third parties.

This information was last updated on 09 January 2017.
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Recent blogs about References & Referees

Civil Service Fast Stream Offer-holders panel: June 2018

Blogged by James Salas on July 13, 2018.

In 6th week Trinity Term, the Careers Service invited five Finalist who all held offers for the UK Civil Service (3x Fast Streamers; +1 Direct entry; +1 HMT Graduate programme) to talk about their experiences in the application and interview process, including their attendance of numerous assessment centres:

  • Fast Stream Assessment Centre (everyone does this one);
  • Economics FS;
  • Social Researchers FS;
  • FCO Diplomatic FS;
  • HMT graduate programme.

The Careers Service has a comprehensive written account of this presentation that is available to current students through the Careers Service’s Interview Database.

If you are considering an application for the civil service this autumn, expect positions to open from mid-August or early September, and to close in the 3rd week of October. Last year, all Fast Stream programmes, including the early and summer diversity internship programmes had the same early application deadline.

If you are well prepared, you should be able to navigate the early stages before term starts, which will mean you have ample time to prepare for each new phase. You can use the account of our offer-holders panel together with our Government and Public Sector briefing paper to get your bearings and make a start with your preparations. And remember, support from the Careers Service is available throughout the summer, wherever you are.

*Alumni cannot access our interview database. Any recent alumni considering applications to the Civil Service can request their own copy of the panel session by writing to reception@careers.ox.ac.uk with details of their College, Oxford Degree course and their year of completion.

Applications Open for Prestigious Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs

Blogged by Annie Dutton on July 9, 2018.

The Stelios Award is a business award run in partnership between Leonard Cheshire and with the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation. It recognises the exceptional spirit and business ability of disabled entrepreneurs. It is open to disabled applicants operating in the UK exclusively, the award uses the Equality Act 2010 definition of disability, which includes long-term mental and physical health conditions, to measure eligibility.

Each of the five finalists win £10,000 with the winner receiving an extra £20,000 to help kickstart their business or take it to the next level.

All forms of entrepreneurship and planned business activity in the UK, including start-ups, social enterprise or up-and-running businesses, can apply.

Deadline for applications is 1 October 2018. For more information and how to apply visit the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation Facebook page, or the Leonard Cheshire website.

Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award 2018

Posted on behalf of Haymarket Media. Blogged by Elleanor Thornton on July 5, 2018.

Aged between 17 and 25 and want to kick-start your career in the automotive industry?

Come up with a problem-solving idea or innovation that will improve the UK automotive business and you could win £8,000 plus a five-month work experience placement at Horiba Mira, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Nissan and Toyota.

How to enter

Describe an idea or innovation that would improve the UK automotive business. The idea should fall into one of five categories – Mobility, Connectivity, Sustainability, Customer Experience, or Marketing and Communications – and it could focus on any area of the automotive business, from concept through to the sales showroom, car ownership and the aftermarket.

The deadline for entries is 17:00 on Friday, 31 August 2018.

Visit the website and enter today.

Terms and conditions apply. See website for details.

Interested in Advertising, Marketing and Creative Careers? Apply to the Daniel Marks Planning Academy 2018

Posted on behalf of Daniel Marks. Blogged by Lara Hayward on July 4, 2018.

THE DANIEL MARKS PLANNING ACADEMY 2018

Daniel Marks is a leader in advertising recruitment and we are keen to help our clients develop and nurture the next generation of strategic thinkers. We recognise that it is incredibly hard for young planners to get a start in the industry. The Daniel Marks Planning Academy represents a unique opportunity to get your foot through the door at some of the best creative advertising agencies in the world.

We are looking for people who are not afraid to challenge themselves and lend their unique vision to some of the most exciting agencies in London.

Successful applicants will receive mentoring, support and a potential permanent job opportunity as a Junior Planner at a leading creative agency in London. Applicants may be recent graduates, junior account handlers or simply have an inquisitive and curious mind looking for a career of influence.

KEY DATES:

  • 8 May 2018 – Entry Application Open
  • 8 September 2018 – Application Deadline for Submissions
  • 20 September 2018 – Roundtable Judging Event at the Daniel Marks London offices

HOW TO APPLY:

All the applicant needs to do is to submit their response in answering a strategic brief. We present their work for them to a panel of Judges who are all Chief Strategy Officers at top Creative Agencies in London with a view to offering mentorship, paid internships or even a full-time job up to £25K as a Junior Planner.

Further details on the Planning Academy initiative and how to apply can be found at www.danielmarks.com/planners.

If you have any further questions please contact planningacademy@danielmarks.com or tweet us @teamdanielmarks using #PlanningAcademy.

Government Legal Service’s Legal Trainee Scheme APPLY NOW

Blogged by Abby Evans on July 3, 2018.

The Government Legal Department provides legal services to the majority of central government departments, undertakes parliamentary advisory work, provides litigation and commercial legal expertise to the government and has one of the largest employment law practices in the UK.

Their Legal Trainee Scheme offers training contracts and pupillages. The short application window is now open and closes on 27 July 2018 for training contracted and pupillages beginning in 2020.

75 legal trainee places are offered with the Government Legal Department (GLD) including the Commercial Law Group, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA).

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