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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 31 May 2019.
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Recent blogs about References & Referees

The Careers Service at the University of Oxford Open Days

Blogged by Corina Lacurezeanu on 25/06/2019.

Are you planning to attend the University of Oxford Open Days on 3 and 4 July?

The University of Oxford Careers Service will be participating in this year’s #oxopendays. Whether you have no idea what to do after graduation, are beginning to have some ideas, or know exactly what you want to do once you’ve finished university, we at the Careers Service are here to help guide and support you to achieve your career ambitions in whatever type of job that is.

Come and learn more about how we work with and support students at:

    • The Open Day Information Centre, Examination Schools, 75-81 High St, OX1 4BG, 09:00–17:00.
    • The Careers Service, University of Oxford, 56 Banbury Road, OX2 6PA, 9:00–16:00.

 

Find out more about the University of Oxford Open Days here >>

Careers Advice During the Vacation

Blogged by Karan Karasinska on 24/06/2019.

The Careers Service will remain open throughout the summer vacation and you can come in to have a 1:1 discussion with a Careers Adviser as normal; our advice appointments are available to book on CareerConnect. However, if you are not in Oxford during the vacation, you can still get careers advice.

Short Discussion

If you would like to have a discussion by telephone or Skype while you are out of Oxford, you can book a Short Discussion appointment and email us to say you would like the appointment to be over the telephone, or via Skype.

E-guidance

The Careers Service also offers e-guidance during the vacation period. If you have a careers advice question, you can mail it to guidance@careers.ox.ac.uk. A Careers Adviser will normally reply to your email within two working days. We will run this service from Monday 1 July until Wednesday 2 October (but please note that outside of this period the service is not offered and emails will not be monitored).

If you require any further clarification of our services, or have a specific enquiry, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us: reception@careers.ox.ac.uk or telephone 01865 274646.

Insight into Academia: Positioning for Academic Progression

Blogged by Rebecca Ehata on 13/06/2019.

When: Tuesday 18 June, 13:00-14:00
Where: The Careers Service
Book your place >>

A career in academia can be very rewarding, but how do you go about establishing yourself as an academic in such a competitive job market?

Our two seminar speakers will share their experiences of getting the first academic job and give insights on what it takes – besides a PhD and a developing list of publications – to succeed. There will be an opportunity to ask your own questions. Feel free to bring your lunch with you.

Making the Most of Your Internship Workshop

Blogged by Callum Livermore on 06/06/2019.

Ever wondered how to make the most of an internship? The Internship Office has a workshop just for you!

We know that many of you have internships coming up over the summer, so what better way to prepare for them than attending a workshop dedicated to making the most out of your time whilst there?

Then join our Internship Office’s Making the Most of Your Internship workshop.

Where: The Careers Service
When: Wednesday 19 June, 14:00-15:30
Spaces are limited, to book here.

Through this workshop, we will explore ways in which you can maximise the opportunities on offer through your placement. Whilst the workshop will be geared towards those undertaking placements through our Micro-Internship and Summer Internship Programmes, this workshop will be open to everyone to attend.

LGBTQ Pride Month 2019

Blogged by Annie Dutton on 30/05/2019.

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month

Pride Month has been recognised since 1970, one year after the Stonewall Rebellion which took place on 28 June 1969, commemorating the impact the riots had had on society. There are many events happening nationally but a key event is on Saturday, 1 June with Oxford Pride. Oxford Pride is a celebration of lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex and queer life in Oxfordshire and the day has a parade at mid-day followed by lots of entertainment and stalls.

The Careers Service is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion and aims to provide resources and services specifically to meet the varying needs of  its users. There are key resources that you might find useful when trying to work out what the work culture of an organisation might be. Check out who are the Top 100 Employers 2019  for LGBT people and other resources at Stonewall.

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