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Sample Letters and Email Messages Asking for a Reference

Letters Asking for a Reference and For Permission to Use a Reference


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When you ask for reference, how you write your reference letter or email message request is important.

You will want to give the person you're asking an out, in case they aren't comfortable giving you a positive recommendation. It's important to make sure that the individual who is recommending you for employment can give you not just a reference, but a good reference.

I've actually seen some cases where the reference provider gave a bad reference and said so in terms that helped ensure the applicant didn't get the job offer.

In addition, do not give out anyone's name as a reference without their permission and without knowing what they are going to say about you. The individual who is giving you a reference needs to know ahead of time that they may be contacted regarding a reference for you. Here are tips on how to ask for a reference.

How to Ask for a Reference Letter

References can be requested in writing or by email. If there are forms the recommender needs to complete you may want to send an email message asking for the recommendation, then follow up with a written letter and the forms.

Either way, it's a good idea to review sample letters asking for a reference to get ideas for your own letters. These samples, both written and email, include the best ways to phrase your request and how to request permission to use someone as a reference.

Letter Samples Requesting a Reference

Thank Your Reference Writer

When you get a new job, don't forget to send a thank you note to the individuals who provided you with a reference. Not only will it let your reference giver know that they have helped you, it will also let them know how much you appreciated the job search help.

Reference Articles and Advice

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