Oh, recommendations. I don’t know about you, but when I see that little line on the application of a great job that I’m vying for, it totally makes me cringe. I don’t know whether it’s the fact that I’m leaving it up to someone else to vouch for my experience, or that I’m unsure of what a previous manager really thought about me.
Needless to say, requesting a professional recommendation in the proper way can be tricky, and downright awkward.
To help you avoid the pitfalls of requesting a recommendation or reference, I’m providing you with three tactics to definitely avoid when apply for your next job. With a little finesse, you’ll be a reference requesting queen in no time!
Coming out of the LinkedIn woodwork.
I think that one of the best features of LinkedIn is the ability to write a recommendation for colleagues, where you can genuinely speak to their experience. I know for a fact that employers screen LinkedIn profiles and take recommendations into account, so this is a plus! However, I’ve run into a few sticky situations where a classmate of a classmate has reached out for a recommendation, and I simply don’t know them well enough to write a valid recommendation – don’t do this. Unless the person you’re reaching out to can truly speak to your work ethic, character and past work experience, asking for a recommendation isn’t the way to go.
Unless you’ve been given explicit permission to mention that you know an employee at the company you’re applying to, don’t name-drop for the sake of getting an “in” with a potential employer. Not only will it make you look needy, but you can bet that the employer will be following up with the employee you mentioned for a quick reference check regarding your previous work experience.
Keep it sincere.
One of the most important parts of requesting a recommendation or reference is keeping it completely sincere and transparent. Rather than messaging your email to your potential reference contact with a “I need you to help me” vibe, be humble and fully explain your reason for asking for your recommendation and why you chose your contact for the reference.
What is your go-to method for requesting references or recommendations? Leave your advice in a comment below or tweet us at @HeyWorkingGirl!