≡ Menu

How to Select Employment References to Include in Your Application

who would be the best employment references to include in my education application

Selecting employment references is an important part of the job search process. Choose references that you are 100% sure have the highest respect for you. Getting their approval is critical.

These are the best people to include in your education application to ensure they communicate honestly and positively about your previous work ethic, skills or accomplishments.

When looking for a new teaching job, it is imperative you have a powerful resume but excellent references to attest to your relevant strengths and accomplishments.

Don’t include employment references on your education resume. Save your list of references for your education interview when you are requested to submit them unless they ask for them in a job posting.

5 Employment Reference Selection Strategies

1. Ask For Employment References’ Permission to List Them

Contact your references first to make sure they are willing to give you an excellent reference. Stick with professional references and only provide personal recommendations if requested.

Know ahead of time that the interviewer may ask you for other employment references within the school where you work.

The building principal, department heads, and lead teachers are excellent choices. The faculty may have a policy where they will only verify work and will not give out references.

2. Request a Written Letter of Recommendation

Once you have the permission of these people to use them as references, try to get them to give you a written reference. If they agree, include their contact information in case the person interviewing you has other questions they would like answered.

This list should include any recommendations, awards, or other recognition you received within the school district or organization.

3. Make it Look Professional

Although you may have many personal references from family, friends, neighbors or co-workers, most employees are more interested in professional references.

They want to talk to the people who hired you and completed a yearly or monthly evaluation of your work performance. It’s wonderful people think highly of you, but the decision makers prefer to know how well you did your job.

What benefits did you bring to the workplace?

Were there any problems with your work ethic or style?

Have everything prepared in a document that they can easily read. Use the same letterhead, font, and style as your resume and cover letter.

It is great that people think highly of you, but the decision makers prefer to know how well you did your job, what benefits you brought, and if there were any problems with your work ethic or style.

Have everything prepared in a visually-appealing document that they can easily read. Use the same letterhead as your resume and cover letter. (View our resume and cover letter samples)

After your education job search is successful to send a thank-you note to your references. Keeping in touch with them is always a smart idea, in case you need to ask them as a reference in the future or just to chat.

4. Reference List Needs to Be Current

Even though you may have landed the teaching job of your dreams, you will want to keep your reference list up to date. Organizations or schools can close, transfer ownership, downsize, so keep your employment references current.

Keep your list handy, you never know when you need it. Develop excellent relationships with other personnel, managers, supervisors and fellow employees at your next employment. Connect with them next time you are looking for a new career opportunity. 

5. Keep Your Teaching Network Alive

Keep your network of references going. Consider being active via social networking for many reasons. Stay in contact with the people who have agreed to let you use them as a reference; consider writing a LinkedIn profile to gain knowledge from others and keep in touch

Try to have a former administrator or supervisor included in your list of references, the higher up the ladder, usually the better. Remain in contact with your references, even if your communication is through email. Reach out to see how they are doing and if they have changed their contact information.

Do not underestimate the value of a list of credible and relevant employment references – they are vital to a successful job search.