Sometimes just showing off your skills and qualifications on a CV does not cut it. Some employees usually want proof of your capabilities, often through a reference letter. Reference letters build credibility and also endorse your professional skills, which in the end helps you stand out among other applicants.
Reference letters can be a crucial aspect of your application. Such a letter requires another professional to vouge for your competence. With this, it is important to cultivate strong relationships in your professional world. This way, you have people that are willing to speak on your behalf.
However, asking for a reference is not always a walk in the park. It can be awkward, especially if you are requesting one from say, your ex-boss. If you are nervous about how to ask for a reference, here are some tips for you.
Ask The Right Person
You may have a long list of referees to choose from, keep in mind that not everyone will work for you. Do you have someone who speaks highly of your skills? Do you have someone you can trust and talk to at any time? Or even anyone who has a job close to the one you are applying for? Then, that is the right reference to go for.
This is the most crucial stage. You want to ask someone who knows you well enough to speak in detail about you and also someone you have a good working relationship with.
Inform Them In Advance
The truth be told, writing a reference letter is not as easy as it looks. It takes time and energy to craft a perfect reference letter, and we all know not every reference has that time to spare. For this reason, you need to inform your referee well in advance so they can prepare and think of the right words to put in the reference letter.
You might be considering to ask your soon-to-be ex-boss to be your reference. With this, you will need to inform them in advance so that they can digest the news and get over the panic of having to replace you.
Always Be Kind When You Approach Them
Remember, you are asking for a favor. As such, you want to think of all the kind and sweet words you can get. However, you do not have to sound desperate. Keep it simple and personal. If you can, reach out to them in person or give them a phone call. This is a lot more personal than emails or letters.
Always Be Respectful
Regardless of the relationship you have with your reference, always be respectful. Even if it’s your former boss who you don’t care for, find the right words to use that will show that you still value and respect them.
Always ask politely if they comfortable being your reference. If they do feel comfortable – that’s great! If they do not feel comfortable, thank them for their time and move on. Do not force or act desperate. This could result in a less than satisfactory reference letter.
Be Ready For Rejection
You may be used to rejections from job searches, interviews, and so on, and this is the same when asking for reference letters. Regardless of how polite and pleasant your request might be, that does not guarantee a “yes” answer. If you get rejected, move on and ask someone else.
You ask someone for a reference and they accept, never forget to follow up. Asking for a reference letter should not be a difficult task, as long as you have mastered the right words to use, you should be good to go. When someone does write you a nice reference letter, it is appropriate to write them a ‘thank you’ note in return. Best of luck with your new job!