Skip to content

Toggle service links

Job references: what you need to know

Employers usually request contact details for two or three referees who can give independent verification of your experience, skills and qualities.

Choosing a referee

Consider people who can comment most effectively on your ability to perform successfully in the role. They can be previous employers from your paid or unpaid work or academic contacts from university study who can give an insight into your commitment and achievements.


  • Ask the potential referee to see if they are happy to provide you with a reference.
  • If appropriate, tell them about the job so they can make relevant comments.
  • Take their full contact details. Such as full name, title, full address, telephone and email address.
  • Find out if there are any limitations to the reference they can provide. For example some organisations only provide brief standard references, simply confirming you worked with them and were satisfactory.

Don't use

  • A contact that knows you personally such as a relative as there can be a conflict in interest.
  • Someone who doesn't know you in the relevant context (unless you're using them as a character reference).
  • An employer from long ago, unless you are still in touch with them or have no alternatives.

Getting references from the OU

We can provide you with a reference for the following purposes:

  • UCAS application
  • a job application
  • an application for further study
  • membership of a graduate body.

Use the request a reference tool which you'll find in References from the OU

You'll also find the following documents under your Study Record under your Profile.

  • Student Academic Summary - a summary of all the modules and qualifications that you've completed and/or are currently studying towards.
  • Statement of Academic Record is available if you haven't yet completed a qualification. It provides details of the qualification you are studying towards, the relevant modules and any credit transfer you are entitled to.
  • Diploma Supplement provides details of the qualification you've obtained, the modules completed, and the requirements of the programme.

Last updated 1 year ago