How to Ask Someone To Be Your Reference For a Job

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When applying for jobs, references play a crucial role. References provide employers with information about your character and skills. They also give employers insight into your personality, which helps them decide whether or not they want to hire you.

When writing a reference letter, choosing someone who knows you well, has worked closely with you, and can speak highly of you is essential.

This person should be able to describe your strengths and weaknesses and your potential for success at their company.

In this article, aside from learning how to ask someone to be a reference properly, you will also see examples of how to do so. Keep reading!

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What is a professional reference?

A reference is someone who can tell a hiring manager what it is like to work with you. They are usually people who know you well enough to talk about how you perform in specific situations and roles.

References don’t necessarily have to be close friends; they could be former coworkers, mentors, bosses, instructors, or anyone who knows you and can speak positively about your character.

References are often called upon during job interviews because employers want to hear what others think about you. This gives them insight into whether you’re a good fit for the position.

If you’ve worked with someone before, chances are they can provide a recommendation.

Your reference can answer questions such as:

• What kinds of projects did you participate in?

• Did you constantly meet deadlines?

• Were you able to handle complex tasks?

Why do employers seek references?

Employers will often ask for references as part of the hiring process. This is because they want to screen you for any potential red flags that might cause your dismissal. Having a solid group of references who can attest to your skills and work ethic is important.

A reference check can reveal whether or not you are a cultural fit, whether or not you possess the skills necessary to perform the job duties, and whether or not you have enough relevant work experience to make yourself marketable.

A reference check can also provide insight into how well you interact with others, especially those around you.

References can offer a broader view of what life is like with you in the workplace. They can give employers a glimpse into your personality, communication style, and level of maturity.

References can even help employers learn about your character. References can tell an employer about your integrity, honesty, and reliability.

They can show that you are trustworthy and dependable. References can demonstrate that you are loyal to your coworkers and team members.

References can prove that you are a hard worker. And finally, references can show that you are a reliable source of information.

List your references in your resume and cover letter

If you’re applying for a position where your references play a role in the selection process, you should consider listing your reference information on your resume and cover letter.

This is especially true if you are considered for a senior-level position. If you don’t include your references on your resume or cover letter, you won’t be able to answer questions about how well you work with others.

However, you shouldn’t list your references on every single job application. Only list your references if the employer asks for them during the application process. Otherwise, you could end up giving out personal information without realizing it.

Also, ensure that your references aren’t listed on your LinkedIn profile. While some employers might use LinkedIn to check references, it isn’t always accurate.

For example, many people put their current boss’ name on their LinkedIn profile even though they are looking for a different job. So, make sure that your contacts are genuine.

How to pick someone to be your reference?

A reference is someone who knows you well enough to assess your professional skills and abilities positively.

A reference doesn’t necessarily mean someone who works directly with you, though it often does.

People often recommend colleagues, clients, bosses, teachers, professors, coaches, mentors, or anyone else who might know about your ability to do the job.

References are especially useful when applying for jobs, internships, graduate school, board positions, promotions, or raises.

References come in handy for many different types of applications.

They can include letters of recommendation, recommendations from previous employers, testimonials, awards, certificates, degrees, licenses, memberships, or certifications.

References can also help you prepare for interviews. Some interviewers request references during phone screens, while others require them in person.

If you’re asked for references during an initial screening call, ensure you have several options.

What to consider in choosing people to be your reference?

When it comes to networking, there are many ways to do it. Some people like cold calling, while others prefer emailing potential contacts.

But one way most people don’t think about it is by asking someone to be a reference. So what exactly does it mean to ask someone to be your reference? Well, let me explain.

A reference is someone who knows you well enough to vouch for you. They know everything about you, and they can speak highly of you.

References play a significant role in ensuring employees are doing a good job. When it comes to getting hired, they help ensure that a potential employer feels confident hiring you.

So now that we understand what it means to ask someone to be our reference, here are some things to keep in mind when you do it.

1. Choose the right people

Make a list of people who might be appropriate and potential references.

Think about former managers or supervisors, former employees, coworkers, clients, customers, vendors, bosses, mentors, peers, professors, teachers, coaches, etc.

Be sure to include someone who knows you well enough to give you a complete picture. Also, think about people who worked closely with you and had a chance to observe you.

Once you’ve compiled a list, decide whether you’d like to contact each person directly or use a third-party referral service.

Some companies offer free referrals, while others charge a fee. Either way, make sure you’re comfortable asking each one for a recommendation.

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Some prospective employers prefer to receive references via email, while others request phone calls. Both methods have pros and cons, so find what works best for you.

2. Give room to inform your references in advance

Once you’ve completed your list of references, you must inform them about your job offer as soon as possible.

They’ll appreciate having enough notice to prepare themselves for the interview process.

You don’t want to give your references too much information, such as dates or locations, unless you are sure that they will be able to provide accurate responses.

If you decide to ask for specific information, list what you’d like them to include in their response.

Provide your references with ample time to respond. A day or two is probably sufficient, especially if you plan to reach out via phone. However, if you plan to meet with them face-to-face, allow at least a week.

3. Ask nicely: Be mindful of how you are being accepted

If you want to ensure your references aren’t offended by your request, ask them nicely. You’ll find that most people appreciate having someone reach out to them about a job opportunity. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Don’t use the word “references.” Instead, say something like, “I’m reaching out because I’d love to work with you again,” or, “I think we could benefit from each other.”

Be mindful of how you’re perceived. If you seem desperate, they might perceive you as needy. And if you come off as cold or pushy, they might see you as rude. So be careful about how you phrase your requests.

4. Give them some useful information

Providing your references with a list of companies to contact about your job application could mean the difference between getting hired and missing out on a great opportunity.

If you’re applying for a position that requires previous work experience, your references are likely already familiar with the type of work you did.

But if you’re looking for a new career path, your references might not know your skills and accomplishments.

Once you’ve provided your list, send a quick email letting each reference know which company they’ll be contacting and give a brief overview of the role and any specific information you want them to speak to. This way, your references will be able to respond better based on what they know about your background.

Here’s an example email for updating your references:


Thank you again for being a part of my application process. I’m writing to follow up on our conversation regarding my resume. As we discussed, I am now seeking employment opportunities within the following industry sectors:

I hope this helps clarify some of the information I shared during our meeting. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if there is anything else I can help you with.

Best regards,

5. Give updates

If you are looking for a new job, you must let your references know if you land the position. This way, they can help support your story and provide insight into how well you fit within a specific organization.

If they took the time to write a recommendation letter for you, they likely want to hear about what happened. Make sure you keep them updated on your progress throughout the process.

You don’t necessarily need to tell them every detail, but make sure you let them know if there are any changes to your timeline.

6. Say thank you

Whether you received a good or bad review, you should always send a thank you note. This is especially true if your reference expressed concerns. A simple “thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful letter,” goes a long way.

In addition to thanking your references, you might consider including a little gift like coffee or tea to show your appreciation.

How to write for someone to be your reference?

Many ask for references by email. This enables them to incorporate job advertisements and CV links.

Here is an example of how to do it:

Subject Line: Jackie Cook: Reference request

Dear Dr.

Devon Hart,

I am writing to ask you to serve as my reference. I hope you agree that I am a strong candidate for the position.

Here are some examples of why I believe I am qualified:

• My experience includes working with children and youth in educational and recreational settings.

After asking someone to be your reference, what’s next?

If you’re looking for a job, sending a resume is usually enough to land you an interview. But what happens once you get hired? You’ll likely want to ask your references to vouch for you — and if you don’t, you could lose out on the chance to secure a great new position.

Don’t Forget To Follow Up

Once you receive a referral, it’s easy to assume you’re off the hook. Whether or not you’ve been offered the opportunity, you still need to keep up the momentum. Send a quick email to your references, letting them know how much you appreciate their help.

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If you want to increase your chances of getting the job, it’s important to ask someone you know and trust to be a reference for you.

But how do you go about asking someone? And what should you say when they agree? We can help.

Our team of experts is more than happy to provide coaching so that you feel confident in your approach and have everything you need to make a great first impression with potential employers.

So don’t wait any longer; reach out today for some expert guidance on this critical step in the job-seeking process!

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