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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 applications

Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on September 22, 2017.

About the Fast Stream

The Civil Service Fast Stream graduate programme develops people from all kinds of backgrounds to be leaders of the future. Applications are open now, with a deadline on 26th October.

The Fast Stream offers a dynamic career path for people with the imagination to see things not just as they are, but how they could be, and who want to make a real difference to the world. There are 15 different schemes, so visit the Fast Stream website to learn more and make your application by the closing date of 26 October: the information on the site is comprehensive.

The Civil Service consistently is striving to reflect the communities they serve and Fast Stream recruitment has a strong commitment to open competition and talented individuals living with a disability or health condition are supported during the assessment process, and throughout their Civil Service career. In addition, they operate a Guaranteed Interview Scheme: for candidates that have a disability and meet the minimum qualifying criteria for their chosen scheme, it may be possible to skip part of the first stage of the assessment process.

Michaelmas events

To learn more, why not come to one of the following events organised by the Careers Service:

  • Monday 9 October, 14:15-15:30: Civil Service Fast Stream Panel at the Careers Service*, 56 Banbury Road
  • Saturday 14 October: 13:20-14:05: Making a Difference – Graduate Schemes and Careers with Social Impact at the Oxford Career Fair, Examination Schools.

*Anyone who may need help to access this event at the Careers Service should contact us in advance either by email to  reception@careers.ox.ac.uk or telephone 01865 274646. 

Deadline

Apply to the Fast Stream by 26 October 2017.

 

Columbia Law School – Admission Q&A

Posted on behalf of Columbia Law School. Blogged by Juliet Tomlinson on September 21, 2017.

Columbia Law School are hosting an online Q&A information session on Tuesday 3 October, 13.00 EST (18.00 BST). The session will cover the admissions process, the curriculum, student life and careers. Register online to take part.

 

The Careers Service needs your help!

Blogged by Timothy Collins on September 21, 2017.

We need your help to unload this years Careers Guide!

If you are interesting in getting paid for assisting at the Careers Service for a couple of hours on the morning of Thursday 28 September, please contact timothy.collins@careers.ox.ac.uk for details of payment and schedule. Email us no later than Monday 25 September at 17.00 with your full name, area of study and college/department if you’re interested!

 

 

 

The Oxford Careers Fair 2017

Blogged by John Gilbert on September 12, 2017.
  • When: Saturday 14 October, Exhibitors from 11.00-14.30
  • Where: Exam Schools

Find a job or internship at our main fair of the year!

  • Meet over 60 recruiters at our fair for all sectors
  • Find graduate schemes and internships in all the main career sectors that Oxford graduates enter – and dozens not included in our other fairs
  • Explore a huge range of careers from teaching to technology, and from social care to sport!

Learn about careers at our fair talks

  • Engaging with Organisations as a Disabled Student (10.00-10.45 – pre-fair talk – register in advance on CareerConnect)
  • How Can the Careers Service Help Me? And How to Make the Most of the Fair! (11.15-11.35, repeated at 12.15-12.35 and 13.15-13.35)
  • Getting Started with your Career (11.15-11.45)
  • Internships and Work Experience: Timeline of What to Do and When (12.00-12.30)
  • Business Career Alternatives to Management Consultancy (12.35-13.20)
  • Making a Difference – Graduate Schemes & Careers with Social Impact (13.20-14.05)

Get your CV checked at our CV clinic

  • Get one-to-one feedback from visiting recruiters
  • Just bring your CV and turn up! Appointments are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

Meet over 60 recruiters!

Visiting employers include:

  • Amazon
  • Ark Teacher Training
  • ATASS Sports
  • BAE Systems
  • Baillie Gifford
  • Brainlabs Digital
  • Cancer Research UK
  • City Football Group
  • Cognita Schools
  • Dyson
  • EF Education First
  • Frontline
  • GSK
  • IBM UK Ltd
  • Institute for Fiscal Studies
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Kraft Heinz
  • London Business School
  • Mars Inc.
  • Metaswitch
  • National Audit Office
  • Newton Europe
  • NHS Leadership Academy
  • Office for National Statistics
  • Oxford Hub
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Sanctuary Group
  • SCG Chemicals Co.
  • SEO London
  • Shell
  • Softwire
  • Sparx
  • Susquehanna
  • Teach First
  • Think Ahead
  • TPP
  • Unilever
  • Unlocked Graduates
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