The Art of the Job Search – Letters of Recommendation and References

ImageYour main marketing pieces during your job search, including your resume, cover letter and maybe even a portfolio or website, are pieces you produce. You have control over the information presented. So what do you do when an employer asks for letters of recommendation or a reference list to contact? How do you manage your LinkedIn Recommendations to reflect what you want potential employers to see? You may not write the recommendations, but you do have a level of control of the information presented, based on who you ask for a recommendation and how you ask.

Who You Ask

Check over your list of professional contacts and determine which would present the most relevant and influential information in their letter, based on the position to which you are applying. If you have a former colleague or manager who can vouch for your knowledge in a particular industry or type of job, be sure to ask if they would be willing to provide a reference.

How You Ask

Through your research as a job seeker interested in a particular job or company, you are the expert in what the potential employer is looking for in their candidates. When approaching your contacts about writing a letter of recommendation or acting as a reference, you can provide them with some coaching through that knowledge. This will make each reference call or letter more relevant and impressive to your potential employer.

If the potential employer wants letters of recommendation, you can ask each contact to base their letters on one of your core strengths. For instance, one letter could focus on your ability to multitask, one on your ability to manage deadlines, and one on your leadership abilities. Have each letter demonstrate how your skills would be a benefit to the potential employer. 

Your Social Media Recommendations

Social media is now a huge factor in most recruiting processes. Through social media sites such as LinkedIn, potential employers can see a limitless number of recommendations from colleagues, clients, and others who appreciate the work you’ve done in past positions. You can manage who posts a recommendation for you by asking them directly. LinkedIn also requires that you approve any recommendations before they display on your page, providing further control of your digital image.

Photo credit: degreesoftransition.com

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