Communicating with your referees
Throughout your career, as you move countries or companies, it will be important to have suitable referees ready for contact. In general, a referee will be someone that has held a supervisory or more senior position to you. It is best to never assume that someone will be comfortable to act as a referee for you, the polite and professional thing to do is to ask them first.
Staying in contact with your referees is also essential, this gives you the chance to update them when you are on the hunt for a new role and when they can expect contact from a prospective employer. Importantly, regular contact means you are more likely to stay up to date if they move roles or if their contact details change.
What details are required?
Your referees’ full name (given and surname), their position title, the organisation/school/EC service they work for, and their contact details (this may include: a work number, mobile number & a direct email address). Pay attention to what details are required as communicating back and forth to ask for and provide additional information creates unnecessary delay for your application.
How many referees do I need?
Having 2-3 referees is ideal. If any of them may be hard to contact for whatever reason, have a backup person &/or a written reference.
Who should I use as a referee?
This will depend on the role you are applying for and your level of experience.
- Education Support/Teaching Assistants/Out of School Hours Care Educators:
There are a range of people that you can use as a referee when applying for a role in education support or OSHC/OOSH. The most relevant are teachers that have seen you at work in the classroom or supervisors that can attest to your ability to work with children (or individuals with disabilities for ES work).
- Graduate Early Childhood Educators/Teacher:
At least one Room Leader/2IC/Sessional Kindergarten Teacher/Director from a placement and/or from most recent employer. An additional referee can be the same as already listed or a professional referee from a previous employer or a lecturer/trainer from current or recently completed qualification.
- Experienced Early Childhood Educator/Teacher:
Two referees that are 2IC or Director Level including one from most recent employer.
For a more detailed description view here. (link to existing EC Referee Blog)
- Graduate Primary/Secondary Teachers:
Mentor/supervising teachers are ideal referees for graduate teachers, other great options could be year level coordinators, HOD, or principal level.
Experienced Primary/Secondary Teachers:
You will need to provide principal class referees (this includes assistant, deputy, vice principals and equivalent). Year level coordinators, team leader, or HOD, can make a great third referee.
- Casual Relief Educators/Teachers:
As a casual relief teacher, it is a great idea to think ahead. The best referees are still Principal class or senior leadership referees. If you plan to transition into a long-term role, move to a new geography, or make a similar change, you will need to provide referees. Some general advice would be to speak to the Principal or Assistant Principal of the school/s you work at most frequently and invite them to observe you teaching a few lessons. You can then ask them if they are willing to be a referee.
- Principal Class:
Relevant referees for Principals are your principal mentors, area supervisors or Principals that you currently or have previously reported to.
- Returning to the Profession:
Returning to teaching after an extended period of absence has its own set of challenges. If you are not returning to an ongoing role at a school or early childhood service, you will need to provide some references from prior to your teaching break. Ideally you will have stayed in contact with your referees. But even so, depending on the length of time that has elapsed, it may be more appropriate to arrange for some volunteering to secure updated references; this could be through your referees or something you would like to discuss with our team. The referee requirement will be based on your level of experience; you can discuss your specific circumstances with us.
Why conduct reference checks?
Reference checks provide your prospective employer with insights into your strengths, abilities, work ethic and interpersonal skills. Within education, reference checks are an important part of the application process as it is vital to ensure that staff are ethical and above reproach in their behaviour with and conduct towards children, which is why having relevant referees is so important. Being prepared for reference checking can help give you an edge as you look for your next role.