How to Manage References and Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation and references are required by most schools with the application for teaching vacancies. You are required to short list people who will provide the employer with their views about you. Generally, schools will need 3-5 names. The school authorities expect excellent letters of recommendation for every candidate. These are important as they will reveal skills, knowledge, and qualities unique to you.

While managing the references and letters of recommendation, you should be aware of the following things:

Employers’ review of recommendations

Letters of recommendation are initially screened and logged in by HR personnel of the school. If they like you or you are selected for a final interview, members of the recruitment committee review the letters in detail. A member may call any of the references to know more about you.

Type of communication from references

References can convey various opinions about you in context with several of the criteria that an employer has. The various selection parameters can be professional commitment, critical thinking, responsibility, goal setting and achievements, interpersonal skills, constant learning, and oral and written communication.

Selection of references

The reference selection is the game changer. You need to have references that can talk about your distinct abilities and accomplishments and aid you in making your profile appealing. The best options are veterans who have seen you teach. If you are inexperienced, your teacher or supervisor can be your references. Colleagues can also share their experiences. It is not necessary that all your references have to be from the education sector.

Interaction with the references

The most prudent thing is to ask the references if they are willing to refer you. Accordingly, write down their contact details, both during the year and summer season.

Before the references start working on their letters, it is important to give them a copy of your resume and the job you are applying for. Meet them and chat about the position, the selection criteria and your skills and qualifications. The reference should know what excites you about this teaching job and why are you a fit for said job. These meetings will give a lot of information to the reference to write an excellent letter of recommendation.

You should give adequate time to a reference to write the letter. A month before submitting your application is a sufficient time. Let them know about your deadlines and a date by when they can provide you with letters. A polite reminder is necessary if you do not receive the letter by the suggested date.

Submission of letters of recommendation

The submission of the letters is the last step. If your school district needs a printed copy of the letter of recommendation, submit copies of letters signed by your references. If you are applying online, a word or PDF document is sufficient.


Your work is not finished after submitting the letters of recommendation. You may send thank you notes after you receive the letters. Do share the news if you end up getting the teaching job.