Talking ’bout my education…

If you are in your final year,  it is coming to that time of year when you may be thinking about applying for jobs when you graduate or if you are in your first or second year, you may be looking for summer jobs/ work experience.

When applying for a job you may be asked to supply the names of (at least) two references. Often at least one academic reference and one employer/ work experience reference. Selecting the correct referee is very important. Here is a very useful guide on how to best do this.

Please ensure that you select a referee that knows you well enough to write positively about you. If you have only met with them once or twice very briefly, they may not be able to comment on your performance in depth and will not be in a position to give you the glowing reference you deserve.

To help your referee comment in detail about your performance, it is a good idea to supply your referees with a copy of your CV and other information such as:

  • the type of work you are going for and why it attracts you
  • what qualities you have that would make you capable of doing the job well – this might include your motivation, personal skills and qualities such as being able to work in a team, persuasiveness etc. You can use the section on SKILLS to help you with this.
  • what extra-curricular activities you have been involved in at UKC and what you have achieved during you time at university.
  • if you haven’t seen them for some time, it would be wise to let them know what you have been doing since then.
  • any other information that you feel is relevant

A copy of the job advert for which you applying  is also helpful and allows the referee to comment on the types of strengths/ skills you may have for the job.

A bad example of a request for a reference is:

“I’m applying for some jobs – can I add you as a referee?”

A good example is:

“Dear Dr XXXXX,

My name is (insert name and student id) and you were my (insert in what capacity they know you) during (insert dates). I wonder if I might ask you to act as a referee for a post I am applying for (insert name of job), full details of this post can be found at (insert advert website or attach to email). I would very much like to apply for this post because (insert reasons) and I feel I have skills that would be of value (insert skills). As well as my academic achievements I was also involved (insert details about extra-curricular activities/or activities you have been involved in since university and why these may be relevant to the job). Please see attached my CV and covering letter for the post.

Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours gratefully,

Add full name and any contact details”

Employers will ask your referee which dates they knew you and in what capacity – so it is always good to remind them of this. Please keep in mind that academics get asked to supply reference a lot and so try to help your referee write the best possible reference for you that they can!

Important – Always ensure you ask the referees permission before you add their name and contact details to your application. It is also nice to let the referee know the outcome of your application – even if you were not successful you may require their help again in the future. If you require a very simple academic reference that outlines your academic grades to date, your admin team within your school may be able to provide this.

Also remember the Careers and Employability Service are here to support you should you require any help applying for jobs.

– Dr Wendy Iredale, Enterprise and Employability Officer, University of Kent


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