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I am a university 2nd year computer science student and I did a summer job as an IT Analyst when I was 3/4 through my first year.

My summer job as an IT Analyst went great and my supervisor, manager and the Vice President of the IT section of the company thought I was a really good worker and liked me a lot. Once the summer job came to an end, they told me to stay in touch and that I should come back for another work term and the VP wrote a really good recommendation letter for me.

A few weeks later, I applied to another job which I ended up getting.

Unfortunately, when I was in first year, I did not see the importance in me (as a student) to keep in touch with my previous supervisor (especially if they liked me a lot and would give me a really good recommendation letter and requested that I should come back to the company) and I am applying for my third work term now and I find that a large portion of the jobs want to contact my first (and second) supervisor before hiring me.

I haven't been in touch with my first supervisor for over a year, ever since I left the company (they even mailed me a 'thank-you / we will miss you' letter and I forgot to email them and say thanks for the letter!). I think it would be really weird if I email them now and say 'hey, I want to work for a different company and am wondering if I can put you down as a reference' when I didn't even say thanks for the goodbye letter they mailed to my house. I also think it would be weird if I put the contact information down without notifying my manager because then, the workplace I am applying to will / might call the manager in the middle of the work day and say 'hey, can you tell us about 'myName'' and the manager says, 'uhm, I'm in the middle of doing work right now, who is myName?' and then the workplace says 'myName said he worked for you' and then the manager says 'ohhh, oh yea, I think I know who you are talking about. The summer student? Yea yea, him. He was good'.

With that said, knowing that if I put down the 'IT Analyst' position on my resume, then the workplace I am applying to will want to contact my first supervisor, should I or should I not put down the contact information of my first supervisor?

If I shouldn't put down the contact information, then what should I say when the place I am applying for asks me for my supervisors contact information? Will it be weird if I say 'I didn't stay in touch with them even though they liked me a lot and I can guarantee that they would have given me a good reference if you contact them'? I think it will be hard for them to believe that I do not want them to contact a supervisor who liked me a lot.

Keep in mind that the 'IT Analyst' position will boost my resume a lot since I am just a 2nd year student looking for jobs and all previous work experience related to IT will help me a lot in terms of finding a job.

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    Hi @user2719875, I moved your question of "why a -1" from the answer, as it belongs down here in the comments. It's not to take away the validity of your question, but rather to remove it from a more permanent place (the question) to a less permanent place (the comments). – panoptical Apr 13 '14 at 21:13
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    Thus, I'll repeat for whoever voted: why the downvote? – panoptical Apr 13 '14 at 21:17
  • Maybe it would be a good idea to send a message to your first supervisor even if it does feel a little awkward. You can apologize for not keeping in touch. – Tanner Swett Jul 9 '15 at 2:49
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If the IT Analyst position is in any way relevant to the position you are applying for, then you should absolutely put the job on your resume.

The company that you are applying to, should they choose to proceed with you as a candidate for a job, is that they'll contact your old manager to, first, verify that you actually worked for them for the time specified on your resume, and then ask for a basic reference, which pretty much just involves your reputation and work ethic. Some companies will also try to verify what you said on your resume and possibly in your interview as well. My point is, it really doesn't matter whether or not you've stayed in contact; you can still use the job on your resume, and if your manager behaves professionally at all, then they should still give you a good reference, given that you performed well in your previous job.

Also, I would try contacting your old manager, by calling if possible, to get his permission to use him as a reference. As he/she seems to have liked you, he/she shouldn't say no. However, if he's unavailable or no longer works for the company, you should provide a general contact number for the company, so they can at least verify employment.

  • hm okay, thanks! After reading your answer, I realized that putting the job on my resume is a definite yes. I realized that my real question should be, "should I put down the contact information of the first manager or not, given the circumstances?" (Please read my edited version of the 5th paragraph to see the circumstances)? And if I shouldn't, how should I answer the 'why didn't you give us your first managers contact information?' question? – user2719875 Apr 13 '14 at 20:30
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You seem to be confusing work experience and references.

You should list all relevant work experience (even if things ended really badly, which is far from the case here) - you shouldn't include contact details here.

When asked, you should be able to present (normally around) 2-5 references which will be who they contact. Or you could include their details separately on your resume (most advice I read says you shouldn't), but this leads to you needing to contact them even if the resume gets binned.

Yes, you should contact references to ask permission for them to be contacted as a reference for you, or just to notify them in case you asked for permission previously - even if you left yesterday, they may still not be prepared to be a reference for you (if I personally were to be a reference, I'd need a bit of time to think what I would say and to think back on my time working with that person), or may be unwilling for whatever reason.

I'm not on the hiring side of things, but I wouldn't expect them to contact your prior employers that you didn't list as references. If you raised some red flags such as discovered lies or not being able to discuss listed work achievements, this may lead to your prior employers being contacted, but this scenario seems incredibly improbable - it seems way more likely that they'll just not consider you for the position. Even if this does end up happening, I don't expect them to consider what your prior employers have to say to be much of a reference for you.

In my personal experience - a year isn't that long, and I doubt they'll hold not keeping in touch against you. If they would've given you a great reference a year ago, I strongly suggest you consider them as a reference.

  • Normally around 2-5? Which country is this? – starsplusplus Apr 14 '14 at 13:00
  • @starsplusplus Anywhere? How many do you think are appropriate? I'm not saying you should present either as few as 2 or many as 5 references to any given employer when no specific number is requested (I think 3's a good number), but I'd reasonably expect that they'd ask for anywhere between 2 and 5 - while asking for 4 or 5 may be rare, having that many available would obviously be useful if ever asked for that many - the last thing you want to do is worry about getting good references after you've been asked for them. – Dukeling Apr 14 '14 at 23:09
  • I've no idea what's appropriate, I've just never heard of people asking for as many as five (and my impression was that two was the norm). Was trying to get a better idea of whether I might be asked for 5 here. – starsplusplus Apr 15 '14 at 7:23

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