When you apply for a job, the company often asks for references from your previous employers. Since these documents inform your future employer about your performance and personality, you should check carefully when you receive a reference that all important information has been included and unambiguous wording has been used. To help you with this tricky task, you will find a compilation of the most important points below.
The employer's reference must be truthful and specific to the person. The usual information is the names of the employee and the employer, the employee's date of birth, the beginning and end of the employment, a list of the employee's most important activities, the employer's signature and the date of issue. Overall, the descriptions should provide a meaningful assessment of the employee's performance and knowledge.
- In addition to being correct in terms of language and content, the employer's reference should make a neat impression at first glance. The document should be written electronically and should not contain any deletions or unedited corrections.
The writing style should be benevolent, bearing in mind that some phrases with negative connotations have become overused and should be avoided (e.g. "curious", "worked conscientiously", "within his/her abilities"). Also check your reference to make sure that no trivialities or self-evident facts are emphasised, but rather that the relevant qualities for the respective position are accentuated. If a formulation seems imprecise or misleading, or if relevant content is missing, contact your supervisor and ask them to make the necessary changes.
The specific requirements for the employer's reference may differ between countries. It is worth briefly researching this topic in the relevant country.