Character list

When providing character references to accompany job applications, this is our list of recommended character reference professions.

All counter-signatories must:

  • work in (or be retired from) a recognised profession
  • have known the applicant for at least two years, in a professional or personal
  • capacity, and be able to confirm the identity of the individual.

They should not:

  • be closely related to the applicant by birth or marriage
  • be involved with the applicant e.g. in a relationship
  • live at the same address as the applicant.

Recommended character reference professions

  • Accountant
  • Airline pilot
  • Articled clerk of a limited company
  • Assurance agent of a recognised company
  • Bank/building society official
  • Barrister
  • Chairman/director of limited company
  • Chiropodist
  • Commissioner of oaths
  • Councillor (local or county)
  • Civil servant (permanent) (excluding those who work for the HMPO)
  • Dentist
  • Director/manager/personnel officer of a VAT-registered company
  • Engineer (with professional qualifications)
  • Financial services intermediary (for example, a stockbroker or insurance broker)
  • Fire service official
  • Funeral director
  • Insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
  • Journalist
  • Justice of the peace
  • Legal secretary (for example a fellow or associate member of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and Personal Assistants)
  • Licensee of a public house
  • Local government officer
  • Manager/personnel officer of a limited company
  • Member, associate or fellow of a professional body
  • Member of parliament
  • Merchant navy officer
  • Minister of a recognised religion, including Christian science
  • Nurse (RGN and RMN)
  • Officer of the armed services (active or retired)
  • Optician
  • Paralegal (certified paralegal, qualified paralegal or associate member of the Institute of Paralegals)
  • Person with honours (for example, OBE or MBE)
  • Pharmacist
  • Photographer (professional)
  • Police officer
  • Post Office official
  • President/secretary of a recognised organisation
  • Salvation Army officer
  • Social worker
  • Solicitor
  • Surveyor
  • Teacher/ lecturer
  • Trade union officer
  • Travel agent (qualified)
  • Valuer or auctioneer (fellows and associate members of the incorporated society)
  • Warrant officers and chief petty officers (excluding those who work for HMPO)