Top 3 Things to Do When Asking for a Job Reference


If you want to land your next job, you have to stand out from the crowd, showing them just why to pick you. The competition is often fierce, too, potentially resulting in more than 250 people vying for the same position. So, in order to win the top spot on the candidates list, you need to have a stellar job reference backing up all your claims. But how are you supposed to get past employers to vouch for you? By simply using the tips in this guide, of course!

Set Your Sights on the Right People

When it comes to a winning job reference, you need reliable people with up-to-date, direct knowledge of your skills, accomplishments, and aspirations. So, skip the CEOs and district managers in favor of supervisors who worked right alongside you day in and day out.

After that, narrow down the list further by only reaching out to the people who worked with you in the last couple of years. Then, reflect on their willingness and ability to clearly describe your work ethic, skillset, and commitment to excellence. Once you do that, you should end up with up to three excellent professional references.

Reach Out Well Before the Interview

Respect your references’ time by reaching out well before you even have an interview scheduled. You need to give them time to receive your message, reflect on your request, and provide a response. Otherwise, they may feel rushed and even put on the spot, turning a potential yes into a hard no.

In addition to timing it right, you need to take a diplomatic approach. When you reach out by phone, email, or letter, start with pleasantries, including what you’ve been up to recently career-wise. Then, politely ask if they might feel comfortable serving as a job reference for you.

Let them know about the position, your career goals, and what it would mean to you to have a good professional reference. Give them an out at the end by expressing your understanding if they would prefer to decline the request.

Send a Thank You Card Afterward

Every person who serves as your job reference should get a thank you letter in their email inbox. You can either send it out right away – or wait until you land your next job.

If you elect to send out your thank you letter right away, follow up with an update once you get a job. Your references would likely love to know how your job search panned out, after all, plus it tells them that they’re done taking calls on your behalf – at least for the time being.

Now that you know how to get a great professional job reference, it’s time to polish up your resume, and then start the job hunt in earnest. Then, while waiting to land your next position, you can always pick up gig work, of course. Or simply enjoy the downtime before you start the next stage of your career.

Ready to Get Started?

About the Author: Marie Abendroth is a skilled content strategist and SEO copywriter who has been a proud part of the gig economy for over 10 years. In her articles, she aims to provide up-to-date info that can help everyone achieve their goals as an independent worker. You can find her on WritersAccess.

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