People are always after good reviews and feedbacks. You’d want to get the best, and you’d want to be sure you make the right decision. Apparently, this is as true for the product they buy to the people they hire.
If you just graduated and already started your job hunting adventure, you would know that there’s a tough competition out there (read: extra emphasis on tough). Thousands of people looking for jobs, thousands of people wanting to stand out. Are you one of them? If so, then keep on reading!
Aside from sending your résumé and cover letter, employers usually ask recommendation letters to come with it. And there’s no doubt that this seemingly ordinary piece of paper can either make or break your chances of getting your dream job. Yup, it’s that important!
While not every company will require you to send a reference, it’s always good to come prepared! Here are three important points to remember when getting one:
1. Ask from the right person.
Have you ever ask your friends about certain professors when choosing your classes just to watch out for the terror ones? Assuming that’s a yassss, you should know that it’s pretty much the same thing with your recommendation letter—except this time, it’s your employer who wants to know if you’re the type of applicant to hire or avoid. Make sure they hear from the right person!
A good recommendation letter starts with asking a good character reference. By “good”, we don’t mean those that’ll put you on a pedestal. Trust us, employers know bias when they see one. Instead, choose someone who knows you personally. Someone who can speak your best attributes and vouch for it. In the same way, don’t forget to choose someone whom you know personally. After all, a good recommendation letter is only as good as the writer’s credibility. #choosewisely
Here are some people who make great character references:
- Professor or academic adviser
- Personal or professional mentor
- Work/org colleagues
- Close friend
2. Provide the necessary details.
While you can’t really write your own recommendation letter (obviously), you can still get involved and be part of the entire process. When you finally asked someone to be your reference (read: it’s best to ask in person!), let them know that you’re willing to extend help in whatever way to make sure they’re not lost in writing. The last thing you want is for them to make things up or come off as vague.
For starters, provide them a copy of your achievements and other helpful information you think they should know for the job position you’re applying for. Also, let them know application-specific details. Do they send it directly to the company? If yes, is it through a post office or online? When it comes to these things, there’s no such thing as over-communication. Make sure you’re on the same page!
Here are some details you can provide to your reference person:
- Academic achievements
- Extracurricular involvements
- Personal character traits
- Job-related skills or competencies
- Application-specific details (addressee, address, due date, sending procedure)
3. Give your reference person enough time.
If you want a recommendation letter, much more a good one, make sure that you give them ample time to prepare for it! You don’t want a crammed paper, do you? Sure, you have a running schedule for your job application and there’s a deadline to meet but remember that they have their own deadlines too.
If it’s your professor, it’s highly likely that their tight schedule’s filled up until the next semester already. But because they’d love to extend you this favor, they said yes. Isn’t that something to be thankful for? So respect their time. It’s okay to remind them once in a while when you expect to get back to them, but until then wait patiently.
PS. It’s always better to be early than sorry! Not only will you give enough time for your reference person to write a recommendation letter that’ll get you hired, but you’ll also have enough time to ask other people should your first option says nope.
Never underestimate the power of a good recommendation. As you apply for your dream job, make sure to complement your impressive résumé and cover letter with a strong testimonial that’ll convince your hiring manager that you’re the one they’re looking for—because you are. They just need that one extra push. Make it count!