General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

The etiquette of references

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Starr:
Help!  I've been out of graduate school for less than a year and I'm not sure of the etiquette when applying for jobs.  Some background: I worked at a student teaching job for two years before I graduated in May.  I then worked at the same school as an instructor for the fall semester (it was a college).  My superviser and contacts from student teaching were still at the same school and I saw them occasionally in the halls and about.  Three of them wrote me letters to help me get my current job this semester, which I started last month.

Now, I'm applying for a new, higher level job for the fall.  I would like to use the same three references on the application because I worked with these three people the longest.    What is the etiquette here?  Do I need to formally ask their permission?  Or should I just assume since they wrote me a letter six weeks ago it would be okay to list them?  Or is it strange to list them since we haven't formally worked with each other since last May?

(If you're wondering why I don't ask someone(s) from my new job - I've only been here a few weeks and don't know anyone really well.)

Any other advice would be helpful!

blarg314:

Definitely ask.  You can also ask if they are willing to be a general reference for your job search, and then update them as you apply for jobs.

If you don't talk to them and assume, even if they would be willing you run the risk of someone contacting them, and having them confused because they're being contacted by someone they weren't expecting. That won't look good.

Starr:
That makes total sense.  I don't know why it didn't occur to me, honestly, to send an e-mail just saying I'm applying to jobs in general and might use them as a reference.  Would an e-mail along these lines be okay?

"Hey (close friend/superviser from last year's job),

How are you doing?

I just wanted to thank you again for writing me a letter of recommendation for (this semester's job).  I got the job and really enjoy working there (for reasons x and y).  I'm applying to some new teaching positions for the fall and wanted to let you know I may put your name down as a reference.  Is this alright with you?

Starr"

JoyinVirginia:
Your email is fine.  I sometimes get email from former students asking for reference. It can be brief:.I am applying for positions for next fall, may I use you as a reference again? Thank you very much for your help.

It is ALWAYS a good idea to let your references know ahead of time. That way I am not on the phone with a person from new company, wracking my brain to remember who Joe Smith is and when they worked with me.

MamaMootz:
I agree with everyone here. I will never give a reference to any employer unless I check with the reference first to make sure it's OK to do so. And I also like to give said reference a heads-up if a prospective employer is going to call them.

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