If you’re interviewing for a job, you probably know you can expect to be asked for a list of references. It’s a standard practice you’ve seen on just about every job application you’ve ever filled out. But just because it’s a repetitive part of the process doesn’t mean you have to keep submitting the same old boilerplate list of references you put together. If you’re looking to take it a step further and really elevate yourself above the competition, a professional letter of recommendation is what you need.
While it’s uncommon that an employer will explicitly request a letter of recommendation (most just ask for references), that doesn’t mean they can’t be useful. Quite the opposite – a letter of recommendation can provide a hiring manager with a better sense of your skills than the quick run-down they’d otherwise hear from HR about your dates of employment.
The power of a solid letter of recommendation is a no-brainer – but how do you ask for one? Use the tips below to make the process as smooth as possible and to ensure you’re doing your part to get the most out of any recommendation letter.
Before You Ask: What to Consider
There are a few prerequisites you need to cover before asking for a letter of recommendation. The following points are essential to any chance of receiving a quality recommendation letter:
1: You actually know who you’re asking
It might seem obvious that you should know the person you’re asking to write you a letter of recommendation, but it’s a common mistake to think you can ask anyone as long as they were your professor, boss, or supervisor. Such is not the case: the purpose of the letter is to provide valuable insight into who you are and the value you can bring to an organization. The professor you had all year but never spoke to or the boss you never saw much of in the workplace aren’t the right people for the job.
2: You have a positive history and relationship with the person whom you’re asking
Maybe the supervisor or professor you’re thinking of asking knows you quite well, but it’s because you constantly asked for deadline extensions or had a habit of being late. You want to make sure that you have good standing with whoever you choose to ask – avoid asking someone who may have a reason not to give you their full stamp of approval.
3: The person you ask is relevant to the position you’re applying to
If you’re applying for a management role, select someone who observed your management skills firsthand. Whomever you ask should be able to speak to your skills in a way that’s relevant to the job you’re seeking.
How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation
Once these basics have been covered, it’s time to learn how to successfully ask for the letter of recommendation. Below are some tips:
Know the Purpose of the Letter
You want to make the letter writing process as easy as possible for the person you’re asking, and this starts with letting them know the letter’s purpose. This helps them determine what parts of your experience they should focus on, as well as what can be left out. If you don’t go into detail about what the letter is for and what parts of your history are the most relevant, you might end up with a vague letter that doesn’t serve its purpose: to help you stand out!
Who is the Letter For?
Don’t forget to tell the person writing your letter who will be reading it. Besides helping with practical details such as who they should address the letter to, this information guides the style and tone they use. Knowing their audience informs how they describe their experiences with you, as well as the specific details they use.
Include Your Resume
You want to give the person writing your letter of recommendation as much information as you can to help them write a quality letter. One way to do this is by highlighting the skills and experiences on your resume that are most relevant to the job you’re applying. This gives them specific information to work with and ensures they aren’t left grasping when they sit down to write the letter.
Don’t Wait to Ask
If you planned on asking someone for a letter of recommendation for the job application that’s due in a week, don’t. Besides being unprofessional, it lowers the chances that you’ll end up with a high-quality letter. Even if they did bend over to get you a letter on short notice, it’s quality may be sacrificed. You wouldn’t want your job application tied to a hastily written reference letter. Asking someone to write you a letter of recommendation is a big favor – it’s your responsibility to make it as easy as possible for them.
Asking for a letter of recommendation can feel intimidating. But by taking the time to follow the steps above, you can feel confident knowing you’ve covered the most important bases when you reach out and make that request!
Need help writing a professional resume that get results?
Turn to the professionals at ResumeSpice. We are the #1 rated resume writing and career coaching service on the independent review site TrustPilot. Read hundreds of our 5 star reviews here. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.
Rejection stings. Especially in the job search and even more so when you know you’re a good fit for a role.
When a recruiter or a hiring manager gives you negative feedback on your resume or interview, your first instinct may be to reply defensively. Instead…
Stop. Wait. Breathe.
Learning to accept feedback graciously is a skill that will benefit you throughout your career. As anyone who has ever applied to a job knows, most times you don’t receive feedback on why you weren’t considered or interviewed for a role.
When you do receive an explanation, accept it as a gift. Consider what was said – after you’ve had a chance to meditate, drink a latte, shoot some hoops, or do whatever makes you happy and helps clear your mind.
Think carefully about the following:
• Is this feedback part of a theme? Does it sound similar to past advice from supervisors, coworkers, and/or potential employers?
• Is there something you can take from it to further improve on the content of your resume and/or your interviewing skills?
• If it’s based upon a misconception of your experience, is there a way to professionally respond and highlight an achievement in that area?
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the answer is no. When that happens, the best way to respond to the related feedback is, “Thank you for taking the time to share this with me. I appreciate the opportunity to be considered and wish you the very best.”
Whether you do or not is entirely up to you, but this is how you build a reputation for professionalism while leaving the door open for future opportunities.
Of course, if you need help in any area of career coaching, resume writing, and/or interviewing skills, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced team of ResumeSpice career consultants!
In today’s job market, you still need a traditional resume and cover letter. What’s changed over the past several years is the need for a robust Linked profile. We recently outlined why you need a LinkedIn profile. But if you don’t have the time or know-how to put together a profile, where do you begin? A professional LinkedIn profile service can help. Here’s what you
Your profile is complete.
One of the most common mistakes job seekers make – and one of the biggest turn offs for recruiters – is a profile that isn’t completed. You’re busy, so it’s easy to understand how this might not top your to-do list. However, an incomplete profile can reduce the likelihood that you’re found online by recruiters. A professional LinkedIn profile service will not only know how to compose an effective profile, they will also be able to guide you with inside tips. For example, having a picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed – and for maximum impact, your face should take up about 60-70% of the picture area.
Your work history sells your background.
Many job candidates also make the mistake of simply listing their past job titles and duties. But recruiters want to know more about you, specifically when it comes to your past track record of achievements. A professional LinkedIn profile service writer can consult with you to learn about your background, then craft a strong “Experience” section that gets you noticed by recruiters.
Your headline and summary are well-written.
It can be tough to write the perfect headline and summary. That’s where professional LinkedIn services can help. Writers through such a service can offer insight on what’s going to best promote your background and help you get found by recruiters in your industry. You can, therefore, make the most of this space and use it to your advantage in your job search.
The proper keywords are included throughout.
Once a professional LinkedIn profile writer understands your background and knows the kinds of jobs you’re looking for, they can recommend keywords to include in your profile. This will better optimize your profile and ensure that it comes up in searches by recruiters looking for candidates like you.
Your resume and profile match up.
A big red flag for recruiters is when your resume says one thing and your profile says another. But when you partner with a professional LinkedIn service, you can ensure that both complement and enhance each other and that there aren’t any discrepancies that could raise a red flag.
You avoid industry jargon.
Recruiters don’t like to see a lot of hype and fluff on LinkedIn profiles. Instead, they want clear, concise and compelling information about candidates they’re interested in. If that’s a struggle for you to provide, a professional LinkedIn service can certainly help you.
Interested in putting a professional LinkedIn profile service to work for you?
Contact ResumeSpice at 832.930.7378. We know what employers look for on LinkedIn profiles and can help you craft a powerful one that produces better results in your job search and career.
In today’s world, you need more than just a strong resume. You also need a clear and compelling LinkedIn profile if you want to stand out in a sea of other candidates – and get noticed by potential employers. So how can you go about polishing yours? With these 5 easy LinkedIn fixes:
Use a professional photo.
Posting a professional photo is one of the best ways to fix your LinkedIn profile. In fact, according to LinkedIn, profiles that have a picture get clicked on 14 more times than those without. While you don’t necessarily have to invest in a professional photographer, it is important that you do post a photo that paints you in a positive light. Dress professionally and smile – it will make you look more approachable.
Include relevant and updated information about your job history.
This is the part of your profile that will likely get the most attention from potential employers. So make sure you invest the time to write about your background and experience in a way that positions you as an expert, and also persuades hiring managers and recruiters to want to contact you. Just as on your resume, you should focus on accomplishments rather than simply listing out job duties.
Ask for recommendations.
Wondering how to fix your LinkedIn profile? Another key way is through recommendations. These can help to build your credibility online, and hiring managers and recruiters will be more likely to take notice of you, as a result.
When you do ask for recommendations, be sure to encourage your network to focus on a specific skill or trait that you have, rather than writing something generic. It’s also best to reach out to those in your network individually with a personalized message, rather than blasting out a general request.
Sprinkle in keywords.
Want to get found by recruiters and employers looking for people like you? Then it’s important to incorporate relevant keywords into your profile. For instance, if you’re looking for a job as a graphic designer, then make sure words and phrases such as “graphic designer” and “graphic design” are sprinkled throughout your profile. These keywords should be utilized in your headline and summary, as well as in the experience and skills section. Don’t overdo it though; just a few mentions on your profile will work.
Make sure your profile and resume are consistent.
You’ve updated your profile with these easy LinkedIn tweaks. But is it consistent with your resume? If it’s not, then it’s going to be a red flag for potential employers. While they don’t have to be exactly the same, the two should align well and complement each other.
Know you need a better LinkedIn profile, but don’t have the time or expertise to create one?
Leave it to the experts at ResumeSpice. We know all the best ways to fix your LinkedIn profile so you get noticed by today’s top employers. Get started or learn more today by calling 832.930.7378.