Serving as a Reference

As a faculty or staff member, you may be asked to serve as a reference for Puget Sound students. It's a meaningful way for you to support students as they pursue opportunities, and we encourage you to do so. This page will help you navigate the process and provide you with resources to guide you as you perform this important role.

Please visit the University of Puget Sound Human Resources site for information about the college's approach to employment verifications and reference requests.

Employment Verification
Employment References
Writing a Reference Letter
Resources for Serving as a Reference
Ways You Can Support Student Staff Members
Interfolio Reference File Service

Employment Verification:
Potential employers may require students to provide verification of previous employment. Verification typically includes confirmation of job title, and start and end dates of employment. Career and Employment Services facilitates employment verifications in all instances for all Puget Sound students. Please direct students/employers to CES if they request an employment verification.

Employment Reference: Potential employers may ask students to provide references from individuals who can address the candidate's qualifications in light of a specific employment opportunity. Generally, serving as an employment reference will result in a phone conversation between reference and potential employer. The prospective employer will ask questions about the candidate's background, experience, qualifications as they may specifically relate to the position for which the student has applied.

Please note that it is important to verify that the candidate has provided written permission for the prospective employer to gather the information, and for you to provide it. It is appropriate to ask the prospective employer to fax you a signed copy of the student's permission before proceeding.

Writing a Reference Letter: When students apply to graduate and professional schools, it is common for faculty members or supervisors to write general letters of reference in support of a candidate's application. Reference letters are also common for students in the School of Education who apply for teaching positions. In the current job market, it may also become more common for students to request a general reference letter from a current supervisor as a way to help distinguish them from other candidates. In all instances, we encourage you to consider if you can write a letter in strong support of the candidate's application before agreeing to write a reference letter.

Resources for Serving as a Reference
The National Association of Colleges and Employers has compiled a variety of information relating to providing references, including:
An Introduction to Writing Reference Letters
Guidelines for reference givers
Tips for providing references
Sample faculty reference letter
Sample employer reference letters:
       Former Employer
       Current Employer

Ways You Can Support Student Staff Members
Students seeking employment may ask you to write a letter outlining their strengths as an employee. If students don't think to ask for this letter, a way to support your student staff members would be to offer to write one on their behalf. They can use the letter as a means of standing out among candidates in an applicant pool.

Students pursuing graduate school may ask you to write a letter outlining their capacity for graduate school study. For samples of letters written for a graduate school admissions audience please visit the following resource: http://jobsearch.about.com/od/referenceletters/a/samplegradref.htm
If students are asking you questions about graduate school, please refer them to Academic Advising.

Interfolio Reference File Service
The University of Puget Sound partners with www.Interfolio.com, a reference file service. Students may elect to open an account with Interfolio (for a nominal annual fee) to house reference letters. Letter writers may open accounts (no fee) and upload reference letters on behalf of students. Please visit Interfolio for additional information.