Potential 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.
- a relative
- someone who doesn’t know you in the relevant context (unless you are using them as a character reference)
- an employer from long ago, unless you are still in touch with them or have no alternatives.
Remember to ask before giving their name as a referee. If appropriate, tell them about the job so they can make relevant comments.
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.
References from the OU
Students often ask the OU for references. Before making your request, you may want to look at relevant documents that are immediately available to you from your StudentHome page. These include:
Student Academic Summary
- a summary of all the modules and qualifications that you’ve completed and/or are currently studying towards
- available under the Profile tab of your StudentHome page.
Statement of Academic Record
- available if you haven’t yet completed a qualification
- provides details of the qualification you are studying towards, the relevant modules and any credit transfer you are entitled to
- accessible from the Qualifications tab on your StudentHome page.
- provides details of the qualification you’ve obtained, the modules completed, and the requirements of the programme
- available under the Qualifications tab on your StudentHome page once you’ve completed a qualification.
- Your regional or national centre can send an academic reference on your behalf to a third party, such as a prospective employer, giving details of your progress as a student. In the case of UCAS and GTTR applications, the academic reference would normally be attached to your online application.
- To request a reference, simply access our online tool
which guides you through the relevant questions and confirms your formal permission to release your academic information to a third party.
- Your request will normally take about ten working days to process but may take up to three weeks, depending on what you require.