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I need three Professional References for a form for a Computer Science internship. I haven't had an internship or business related CS work before, but I have done extensive extracurricular work on two projects. One of them I am the lead member of, and the other one, a robotics club, I am a top contributing member. I have put down a CS professor (with permission) that I have had contact with for several years, but they are asking for three. So I need two more ideally.

Assuming he gives permission, would it be appropriate to put down the team lead for the robotics club? We aren't super close friends, but I have worked with him for several months, and he would definitely let me put him down, and would have positive things to say about my skill and work ethic. He is a year older than me and is an Electrical Engineering Major(undergrad). Would this be a good reference in the eyes of the employer?

What should I do about a third professional reference. There are other team members also in high positions, like the president who I have worked with and would vouch for me. That is all I can think of though.

  • If the team lead is now employed as an EE, then you need just one more professional reference. And when you mention people as reference, don't name drop your references as friends of yours - This is not a social situation and you are not in Hollywood or as it may be the case, Bollywood. – Vietnhi Phuvan Nov 12 '14 at 22:01
  • Sorry I forgot to specify, he is also an undergrad. So is everyone in the robotics club. And yes I know not to mention they are a friend, which is why I stated he wasn't a super close friend. – user46877 Nov 12 '14 at 22:04
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    For anyone wondering, I had two of my three references as other students in the clubs I was in, both of them higher ranking. I had one professor. I got both offers where I did that :) – user46877 Dec 8 '14 at 4:12
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Unless it says so explicitly, I wouldn't think that all references have to be CS related. If you have had other work, a recommendation from a boss who can attest to character and work ethic would be better than a fellow undergrad by a wide margin. After all, the point of internships is that you don't have a lot of previous experience in the field.

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Other undergrads are not an ideal choice however in most contexts professional references don't explicitly need to be professionals, more like people you have worked with/for. If those people don't exist then you will have to take what you can get and hope it's good enough. For entry level positions most companies will be somewhat accomodating to the fact that this is your first job. Do your best with the network you have.

  • Thanks for the advice! Just to be clear, it would be appropriate to reference my sub-team lead? If yes, then would it also be appropriate to have the President of the club as a reference? So that would be two people from the same club. – user46877 Nov 12 '14 at 22:37
  • Ideally you have various references from various professional activities. I would suggest that a reference from the each of the two clubs would probably be a better choice if that's an option. But don't stress if it's not an option, do your best with the network you have. – Myles Nov 13 '14 at 14:08

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