When I moved last year, I came across some old letters of recommendation from bosses I had more than a few years ago. Even though they are dated, I put them in the "save" pile because they do attest to my abilities and I'm not in touch with the people who wrote them anymore.
Will I need them? Probably not, because I have more current references I could use, if I did need a reference, but I figured it can't hurt to have them. They were also a good reminder, for me, as to what I accomplished in my roles with those companies.
If you're leaving your job, it makes sense to ask for a reference prior to going. You could get a written reference letter, plus ask for a LinkedIn recommendation. Even if you don't need a reference right now, you may in the future. The recommendation on LinkedIn will be attached to your profile, so prospective employers will be able to see it when they check your profile.
Not sure how to ask for a reference? Here's how to request a Linkedin recommendation and here's how to ask for a reference, including sample letters and email messages you can use to request a recommendation.
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