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References & Referees | The Careers Service References & Referees – Oxford University Careers Service
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Choosing referees
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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
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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
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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 12 November 2019.
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Recent blogs about References & Referees

Start-up Visa Endorsement Application – Information Session

Blogged by Brianna Thompson on 22/01/2020.

WHEN: 20 February 2020, 9:15-10:00
WHERE: The Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road
TO BOOK A PLACE at this discussion contact startup.visa@careers.ox.ac.uk with your name and the course and year(s) of study at the University of Oxford.
👍 Add the event to your Facebook calendar

This information session (with the Student Visa and Immigration Office and Endorsement Panel Chair) is an opportunity to better understand what the endorsement panel at Oxford are looking for, and the process of making your application. We strongly advise anyone thinking of making an application for endorsement to attend.

We are keen to support entrepreneurial activity at all levels and encourage people from any discipline and with any sort of business idea to apply.

More information can be found on our visas page or you can sign up to our Start-up Visa mailing list.

Data Science for Social Good: Summer Internship with the Turing Institute

Posted on behalf of The Turing Institute. Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 22/01/2020.

The Turing Institute is advertising a new 12 week summer internship that is open to students and graduates who completed their studies in either 2018 or 2019. Applications online by 31 January 2020.

They say “DSSG helps not-for-profit organisations and government bodies to achieve more with their data by improving their services, interventions and outreach so that they can fulfil their mission of bettering the world and people’s lives.

DSSG achieves this by giving non-for-profit organisations and government bodies unprecedented access to inspiring, top-tier data science talent and builds their capacity to use cutting-edge quantitative methods to address important societal challenges across education, health, energy, public safety, transportation and economic development.”

Full details and how to apply online on the The Turing Institute website.

Please note, the UK version, DSSGx, will run at Warwick University, starting 15 June 2020.

Oxford Consultancy Case Competition: Teams apply now

Posted on behalf of CapitOx and Kearney. Blogged by Hugh Nicholson-Lailey on 22/01/2020.

Applications are now open for teams of up to 4 students to register for Case @ Oxford 2020. 

Entries for teams of up to 4 students (maximum of 2 postgraduates) must before the end of 29th January. Details of the rules and application process can be found on the Capitox Facebook Event page.

Case @ Oxford 2020

Case @ Oxford 2020, hosted by CapitOx and sponsored and supported by partner consultancies Kearney and Accuracy, is an undergraduate-focused case competition planned as a one-day case competition on Friday, 7 February. There will be two rounds:

  • a preliminary round where registered teams of up to four undergraduates (or including up to 2 postgraduates) will create a presentation on a real business problem faced by a large multinational startup, and
  • a finalist round where teams will present to a full panel of experienced analysts from top consultancies across London and the United Kingdom.

Registration opened on 20 January, and ends on 29 January.

Capitox’s focus is to help every student discover their dream career, and connect them to the future of industry in every field. All students at the University of Oxford are welcome to compete, and participation is will encourage students to engage with actual business questions in real scenarios, providing invaluable insight into industries such as consulting, product management, marketing, and communications.

Conservation/Ecology Conference – 7 March, Oxford

Posted on behalf of Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre. Blogged by Claire Chesworth on 22/01/2020.

Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre, TVERC, provide a comprehensive ecological information hub for Oxfordshire and Berkshire so that knowledge can be shared to help people make sound decisions about how to develop and manage land sustainably and where to direct wildlife conservation work. They are running a Recorders’ Conference in Oxford on 7 March which provides an opportunity for the biological recording community to come together and share updates and information on what they are doing. Anyone who is interested in wildlife recording and conservation is welcome to attend.

The conference will include a combination of invited speakers and workshops; further details, including how to book are available at www.tverc.org/cms/content/spring-2020

Tickets are £5 for students; bookings close on 29 February 2020.

Applications are now open for the Summer Internship Programme 2020

Blogged by Paloma Campos Da Silva on 22/01/2020.

You can now browse and apply for a wide range of exciting internships offered exclusively to Oxford students through our Summer Internship Programme. The first international batch of opportunities is currently being advertised, with more than 200 summer internships in a wide range of sectors in over 30 countries.

All opportunities are open exclusively to Oxford students, and can be applied to through CareerConnect, under the ‘Internship Office and Skills Programmes’ section. You can apply up to three international internships with an application deadline of midday on 17 February. UK internships open for applications on 18 February, and more international internships will also be available from March onwards.

To see feedback from our previous interns on their global experiences, have a look at our Summer Internship Programme Yearbook 2019.

The Internship Office is offering application support sessions for prospective applicants to give advice on CVs and cover letters. These sessions take place every week at The Careers Service and can be booked through the ‘Appointments’ section in your CareerConnect account.

Please see our comprehensive application support guide (pdf) to find out about all the ways to get support during the application process. For further information, please contact us on internships@careers.ox.ac.uk

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