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How to Choose People to Write Job Recommendations for You

Beat out your competition with job recommendations written by credible references who know you, know your work, and are willing to sing your praises.


  • Step 1: Get 3-5 recommendations Get 3 to 5 recommendations, more for a senior position, and choose people who are as current as possible, from within the past few years.
  • Step 2: Avoid personal references Forget about asking family members, your best buds, or Facebook friends to recommend you. Personal references are usually rejected by potential employers, unless they've told you they'll accept them.
  • TIP: is an excellent place for seeking recommendations. Many employers pay close attention to applicants with a profile and recommendations at this professional networking site.
  • Step 3: Choose people familiar with your work Make sure the people you select are familiar with your work, can speak well of your character, and are able to write a letter of recommendation that provides specific qualities relevant to the job you're seeking.
  • Step 4: Choose people who can confirm resume information Choose people who can confirm the information in your resume and point out your strengths and skills, job performance, and desired employee traits.
  • Step 5: Select supervisors, co-workers, and clients Select current or former supervisors, co-workers and colleagues, business associates, and customers or clients who know your work.
  • TIP: Mine other sources, such as community members who would be happy to recommend you based on your work with community service groups.
  • Step 6: Ask college staff and students Ask teachers, advisors, counselors, coaches, mentors, and fellow students if you are a college student or recent grad.
  • TIP: College staff and students can talk about your accomplishments, knowledge, dependability, ability to work with others, and leadership skills.
  • Step 7: Obtain permission Contact these people to get their permission and make sure that they are willing to write and speak positively about you, should they receive a call from the employer.
  • FACT: In a survey by of 850 hiring managers, nearly 70 percent reported bizarre behaviors by job applicants during interviews, which included arriving in a housecoat and slippers, singing the national anthem, and doing a Ben Stiller imitation.

You Will Need

  • 3-5 reliable references
  • Careful assessment
  • Profile on (optional)

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