This Week in Career Advice: How to Ask for a Reference

When making your way through the hiring process, you can almost guarantee you’ll be asked to provide professional references. While asking former colleagues to judge your past performance can sometimes feel uncomfortable, here are some tips on how to ask.

The Balance’s Allison Doyle encourages you to ask your colleague for a reference in a way that offers a graceful exit should they not feel comfortable providing one. She suggests preparing as much information as possible for your reference-giver, like what to include, where to send the letter, and when it’s due. “Also tell your references about the jobs you are applying for, so they can begin to think about how your skills and abilities match the jobs,” she says.

Still unsure about how to ask for a reference? Doyle offers a suggested script to use when asking for a reference via letter or email at the link below. Here’s a sample:

I am writing to ask if you would feel comfortable providing a positive letter of reference for me? If you are able to attest to my qualifications for employment, and the skills I attained while I was employed at ABC Company, I would sincerely appreciate it.

I am in the process of seeking a new position as a marketing manager.

I look forward to continuing the work I have done in marketing while increasing my responsibilities in a managerial capacity. A positive reference from you would greatly enhance my job search prospects.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if there is any information I can offer regarding my experience to assist you in giving me a reference.


What You Should Know About Job References | The Balance


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