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Marquette University
Career Services Center

Holthusen Hall, First Floor
1324 W. Wisconsin Avenue
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
Phone: (414) 288-7423
Fax: (414) 288-5302
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What To Expect

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References and Letters of Recommendations

Approach faculty members, employers, etc. to write recommendation letters. Remember to provide them with any required recommendation forms, your resume, a stamped/pre-addressed envelope, and the deadline for submission.

Create a Reference List to Include Only When Requested

Send thank you notes to people who wrote your recommendation letters, informing them of your success.

The term reference refers to:

1. A person who may be asked to talk about your skills, experience, and work ethic.

2. The actual written or verbal statement of qualification, ability, or character.

References - Business World

Historically, references were written and confidential. However, the business world as a whole has long since abandoned written letters of recommendation and instead prefers a list of your references including an address, phone, email, and the person’s relationship to you. A potential employer may call a reference and ask questions about you.

Letters of Recommendation - Education, Health Care, Social Services, Graduate School

Letters of recommendation are written evaluations of an individual’s performance whether at work or in the classroom. This information is an integral part of the world of education, health care, and social services. Communication of this information is necessary and appropriate. It is no longer necessary that these letters be confidential. You can gather letters of recommendation from instructors, advisers, supervisors or anyone who has witnessed your abilities.

Keep the original of these letters and make copies to send out with your resumes or application packets. Ask letter writers not to address the letter to anyone in particular — simply put at the top, “Letter of Recommendation for <your name>.” All letters should be signed and dated.

Choosing Your References

  1. Be sure to ask individuals who will provide honest, candid, and positive recommendations.
  2. Select professional references; do not select friends as “character” references.
  3. Choose people whom you have asked in advance to serve as references. When asking people to serve as references, give them a copy of your resume or list or your work experiences and activities. Talk to them about your career goals. This way, they are more prepared to talk to a potential employer in a helpful way.
  4. Remember that people have busy lives. If there are deadlines, be sure to tell your references. Check in with them if necessary while being respectful and gracious.
  5. Always follow up with your references when you have accepted the position. Send them a thank you note telling them about your new opportunity.