Recommendation Letters may be your key to success!
Even if you don’t have a wealth of experience, producing a stack of recommendation letters ‘by accident’ when shuffling through your personal files, or upon request, you will be in a much better position when applying for work.
Collect Recommendation Letters from Colleagues
Every job role that you hold, even if it is just a temporary position, make sure you ask several colleagues to write a reference. Make sure you ask them to highlight your unique qualities and achievements. Return the favour by writing them a recommendation letter too. You can include short extracts from some of these (ensuing quotes are in quotation marks, and listing the name and company of the referee) at the end of your CV.
Obtain Letters of Recommendation from Supervisors
You should expect to receive a progress review at least every year – if you haven’t had one, recently make sure you ask your manager today! Following your review you should have a better picture of how you can improve your performance in your current position, and once you’ve had an opportunity to succeed in some of your short-term goals, it will be the ideal time to ask your supervisor to give you a letter of recommendation. Ask the Human Resources Department to retain a copy of this letter in your file so that when future employers call for references, this document is already to hand.
Get Recommendation Letters or Character References from Tutors
If you are, or have recently been, a student at college or university then the chances are you won’t have much work experience. Get ahead of your competition by asking for career recommendation letters or character references from your tutors. Don’t forget that your tutors have to oversee a considerably number of students, so make sure you get the best of your letter by making a brief list of your achievements, career goals and perhaps even knowledge so that you make the best of the opportunity.
Draft a Recommendation Letter on behalf of your Manager
Managers are often so busy that they don’t have time to write recommendation letters. Rather than hounding them down every week, begging for a letter, if the worst comes to the worst, the easiest way to get a recommendation letter is to write it yourself! Write it in the third-person as if it was written by your boss or ex-employer and of course whomever’s name is on the bottom must approve it and sign it themselves before they hand it over to you. Make sure they keep a copy for their Personnel Files.