How to ask someone to be a reference


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If you have never asked someone to be your reference before, it can be a really intimidating task. It is almost like asking another person to compliment you in front of other people.

The search can also be stressful. You need to find someone who knows you well and can vouch for your talents. You also must consider if the person will have to write a letter of recommendation or will be contacted by a possible employer or scholarship committee.

References can raise your chances of landing your desired position. Choose them wisely. Once you have decided whom you will ask, use these tips below to seal the deal.

Let your reference know in advance

It is always a good idea to let your reference know well before you submit their name on your job application that you listed their contact information. This allows the reference to brush up on your skills and strengths, plus what the company is looking for. Then, they can better speak to how you will be a better fit to the team. Also, if they need more time to write a letter of recommendation, they will have it.

Be polite

The mentors, professors, past employers and others you will ask to be a reference are in no way obligated to do so; you are asking a favor of them. Be polite and kind while requesting them to be your reference both over email or in-person.

Make it as easy as possible

Chances are your desired reference is busy with his or her own career and personal life. Thus, make being your reference an easy task. Offer to send them your resume after they agree so they can easily write a letter or have talking points about you in mind. The less of a hassle it is, the more likely they will become your reference.

Keep them updated

After he or she agrees to be your reference, keep them updated on your progress. Did you get the job? Were you awarded the scholarship? If so, send a “Thank You” note their way.