Job Search Tools

Credential File Instructions

Who May Establish Credentials?

  • Persons who have earned their highest degree (i.e., bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate) from Northern Illinois University (NIU) or those who have earned certification and are not maintaining a credential elsewhere.
  • Graduate students who are in a degree program and will have earned a total of at least 15 hours at NIU in the semester in which they register for services.
  • Undergraduates in their final year.

Categories of Service

  1. Establish, reactivate, or update a credential file.
  2. Send five sets of credentials to prospective employers at no charge.
  3. Additional sets of credentials for $5 each.
  4. Use Career Services career counseling services, educator job fair, workshops, and Victor eRecruiting (online job search database).

Registration Materials and Instructions

Return the Personal Information Form and the Authorization and Agreement Form to:

Northern Illinois University
Career Services
Campus Life Building 220
DeKalb, IL 60115

Attn: Credentials

Personal Information Form

  1. Attach resume/vitae in Word format to an email; send to credentials@niu.edu
    Resume/vitae MUST be limited to five pages.
  2. Always keep Career Services informed of your current name, address, telephone number, and e-mail.

Authorization and Agreement Form

A completed Authorization Form must be included with your file to enable Career Services to send your credentials to prospective employers.

Unofficial Copy of Transcript

Contact Registration and Records to request an unofficial copy of your transcript to put in your credential file. You may fax Registration and Records a request at 815-753-0149, send a letter by U.S. mail (Williston Hall 220, DeKalb, IL 60115), or visit in person to make a request. You may not request transcripts over the phone or via e-mail.

Letters of Recommendation

  1. Letters should be from people who have supervised your work.
  2. Those writing recommendations should use school/business letterhead stationery.
  3. Letters must be originals. Career Services will not accept copies.
  4. Three to five recommendations are optimal; a maximum of six letters is permitted.

Requesting Credentials

Requests to send credentials to prospective employers should be made via e-mail at credentials@niu.edu, fax 815-753-7200, phone 815-753-8341, or U.S. mail. List:

  • The name and title of the employer, name of school or business, street address, city, state, and zip code where your credentials are to be mailed.
  • The date you are making the credential request.
  • Your name, address, telephone number, and the last four digits of your social security number.

General Information and Policies

  1. A candidate with a credential file may request a copy for personal use. The copy will be stamped "For Personal Use Only." Closed letters or letters written prior to November 19, 1974, will not be included in the personal copy.
  2. Candidate may view their open credentials by request in consultation with a staff member of Career Services.
  3. The credential file must contain Personal Information, Authorization and Agreement Form, and at least two original, signed letters of recommendation on letterhead stationery before it will be mailed to prospective employers.
  4. The candidate is responsible for soliciting letters of recommendation and for verifying that the references have been placed in his/her credential file.
    • Career Services cannot accept letters written to third parties.
    • Letters must be written expressly for the credential file and must not be directed to a specific person.
    • The candidates may have letters removed from the credential file by making a written request. Career Services is unable to return closed letters.
      • The following should not be included in the credential file:
        • References from neighbors, clergy, friends, or family (personal references).
        • References written for other purposes (i.e. annual on-the-job evaluations).
        • Duplicated evaluations, with the exception of those transferred from other placement offices of colleges and universities.
        • Certificates.
    • Under NO circumstances will Career Services provide the candidates’ names, addresses, or employment information to unauthorized persons.
    • The Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University and Career Services adhere to applicable federal and state EEO laws, regulations, standards, and guidelines, and offer employment information without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, citizenship, or identity as a military veteran unless legally required. Furthermore, in good faith, Career Services works only with those employers who subscribe to EEO guidelines.

Contact Career Services when you obtain employment.