I am an international applicant based in Europe, and I am going to apply for a teaching position at a US university. In the online application we are required to upload documents such as CV, cover letter, etc. and also fill the information regarding three references, education, and Employment history. In the employment history part we must list at least two of the previous employers starting with the current, or the most recent one.

In the Add Employer section, I need to add supervisor’s information and answer the “May We Contact?” question.

Here I have a few questions: I stopped working for my previous employer in Italy because of their disrespectful behavior and disorganization. I can’t take that job off my CV because I need it as an experience. So, what do you suggest?

  • Should I keep the job in my CV but skip it in the online form?
  • Should I fill the online form and answer “No” to may we contact question?
  • Should I fill the online form and answer “Yes” hoping they won’t contact them?

Do they really contact previous employers or do they just contact the references for recommendation letters?

Plus, I don’t even exactly know who my supervisor was, the Italian system is diverse.

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking, you should NOT indicate that you may contact a previous supervisor of yours unless you have spoken with that supervisor, and they have given you permission.

I'm guessing that when teaching in a US university, you will have a well defined supervisor, so it is possible they assume that all your previous jobs were in academia, and you had explicit supervisors for each.

It is impossible for us to tell what the university in question will do. They should theoretically only contact people you have given permission to contact.

You should contact the university in question if you feel you are unable to answer any of the questions properly, but if there is a due date, I would make sure you submit before then anyway.

If you must fill out the form, I would make the supervisors name "On Request". When asked, you can enquire the purpose on why they need the name. You may give them a different supervisor depending on if it's verification of employment, vs character check etc.

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