Asking for a Reference via Email or Snail Mail

The three words that will get you further in life than almost anything else: Manners, Manners, Manners. Often people ask for a reference and don’t provide any context as to the specifics of what that reference should contain; and in doing so leave it completely up to the individual. Ask for what you want and in reference to what knowledge, skills, and abilities you wish to have portrayed. Otherwise, your reference might have nothing to do with the job you are seeking. Choosing the right words to ask for a reference may be the difference between getting a good one or a stellar one.

Assuming you know how to format an email or letter, the content can be re-arranged and altered to fit the specifics of your particular situation. Be careful though, not to change the meaning of the content. A formal tone is generally best, however if this is a person you know well then you can relax the language a little bit.

Subject Line: Reference Request: Your Name

Dear Mr./Ms. ________,

I am writing this email/letter to ask if you would consider being a professional reference for me?

Currently, I am in search of a new position in the field of ______ and I believe a strong reference from you would genuinely enhance my opportunities. I would be grateful if you were able to attest to the qualifications and _______ skills I gained during my tenure with ABC123 Company.

Specifically the skills listed below:

  • Project management
  • Accurate scheduling and budgeting
  • On time deliverables, on or below budget
  • Collaboration
  • Leading by example
  • Ability to bring together people of diverse backgrounds into a cohesive team

Should you have any questions or if there is any additional information I can provide, I can be reached at or (999) 555-1234.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.

Your Name/Signature


One Response to Asking for a Reference via Email or Snail Mail

  1. Freedom, by the way says:

    Are you out of the blogging business? Hope all is well.

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