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Reference Letter

Who to Ask for a Reference Letter

Ask people whom you know will each write a favorable reference letter on your behalf.

Of course, potential employers might suspect that you asked only those whom would give you give marks; but, they'll still want to know that at least some people have good things to say about you. It puts them at ease.

Good examples of people to ask in the workplace are listed below.

  • CEOs
  • Vice Presidents
  • Managers
  • Supervisors
  • Subordinates
  • Coworkers
  • Customers

However, if you're not short on employment-related references, then asking for recommendation letters from same is likely a better idea than asking for reference letters (as indicated on the first page).

If you are short on employment-related references from little to no work experience or otherwise, then ask for character reference letters from people who know your characteristics well enough to warrant giving you good marks. Employers will likely be more impressed if experienced professionals write each character reference letter on your behalf, verses friends or family members. Examples are listed below.

  • Executives
  • Teachers
  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Clergy

Include professors and mentors when applying for advanced-degree work. Never include questionable references, such as your personal psychiatrist or drug-abuse counselor, for the obvious reason! However, if you have a criminal record, then your probation officer will have to do if you have no other references who can vouch for your integrity, now that you've learned your lesson.

It might further impress employers, if the professionals you ask can picture you in your target job role and then strike that tone when writing reference letters on your behalf. However, striking just the right tone in writing is not an easy thing to do, even for professional writers.

Additionally, even if those whom you ask possess excellent writing skills, they might not be well versed in writing reference letters, much less effective reference letters.

So, when asking anyone, it's a good idea to offer a sample reference letter. In fact, the person you asked might be glad you did. Offering a sample will also give you at least some control over the outcome. With your integrity at stake, all it takes is only one, poorly-written reference letter to lose a job opportunity for you!

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