Do I need a job reference?

My colleague, who has just defended her dissertation, asked for a job reference at the last colloquium and thus triggered a lengthy discussion as to whether a job reference is even necessary after a doctorate, whether one has a right to one and who has to write it. I am insecure. In addition, I don't have any other references from internships or other activities, as it is not at all common in my home country to write references. What do you think, do I need a certificate and how do I get one (my PI finds it completely unnecessary)?


Good morning Mr. D,

You are addressing an important topic for the further shaping of your career. The controversial discussion in your colloquium reflects well how different the opinions and assessments on this topic are. And for this very reason, it's always better to have a reference and not need one than the other way around. In Germany, there is a legal entitlement to a so-called qualified reference, i.e. one that shows what you did and how well you did it. In science, certificates often don't really play a role, but in business they are in demand and may later serve as proof of your work. Even if you do not have qualified job references from your home country, you should therefore ask for one from your work here.
Offer your PI to write the certificate for you and only ask for his signature. To do this, you can use the certificate generators available on the Internet to obtain a basic framework and then customize it yourself. The special language in a job reference is not easy to understand.
The Graduate Academy will be happy to advise you on this and help you to submit a meaningful draft. If your text is true, your PI will probably be happy to put it on official paper and sign it.

I wish you all the best for the future!

Alex Guericke-Summer


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