Long story short, after my undergraduate program, I worked at university X for 3 years. After the 3 years of employment, I left my position to pursue a master's degree. 2 years after that, I graduated with a master's degree and now I am applying for a job at the Canadian federal government. The federal government is asking me for a list of reference.

I can ask 2 people from my previous job at the university X to be my reference. One is the team lead (call her Y), and the other (call her Z) is one of my co-workers who held more senior position than me.

I feel that the person Z can provide the federal government with more useful reference about me, because it was the person Z who gave me a job training as well as direct supervision. However, Z is now retired and is no longer part of the team that I used to work for.

Person Y had been the team lead while I worked at university X, and she is still the team lead now. Y can give me a good reference, but Y and I did not interact much while I worked for the team.

Between person Y and person Z, whom should I ask for a reference to increase my likelihood for getting the job at the federal government?

  • Is there a reason not to ask both?
    – mxyzplk
    Feb 24, 2021 at 21:13

1 Answer 1


Do person Z. No longer being at University X has no bearing on their ability to act as a reference for you.

I mean, what would happen if you were working for a private sector employer who was no longer in business? If only current employees could act as references then you'd be S.O.L. since an out of business company wouldn't have any employees...

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