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Who can I ask to write a letter of reference for a job?

TheHopelessGamerTheHopelessGamer Registered User regular
edited May 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Ok, the kinds of jobs I'm looking to apply for often require two letters of reference, which is no problem as I'll have one from my grad school internship as well as my current supervisor at my job of two and a half years. This should be fine right? Not so much. I've come across some jobs, some pretty great looking ones, that require three letters of reference. This to me seems like overkill, and is a problem as I've only been working two and a half years out of grade school in a single job. I've straight-up run out of employers and now need a bit of help thinking outside of the box to come up with a third person to ask to write a letter of reference for me. On a side note, I'm a great candidate for the types of jobs I'm looking for, and really this third letter is the only thing I'm missing and that (I'm hoping) is holding me back. Just kinda sucks, ya know?

Anyway, thanks for the assistance and ensuing advice!

TheHopelessGamer on


  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Does your boss have a boss? Do you have any clients you've worked with (may or may not be kosher depending on relationship/industry)? How long have you been out of school, are there any teachers who would remember you? Do you know anyone who holds a public office or works for the government (cop, etc)?

    Skoal Cat on
    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Professors love writing letters of references for students they enjoyed teaching. If you did particularly well in any of your grad school or undergrad classes, drop the prof a line asking for a reference letter, and make sure you include some mention of who you are to jog their memory, like "I really enjoyed taking your class on Underwater Basketweaving in fall of 2008, and my final submission for your class - 'Snorkel Montage with Reed and Palm Leaves' - actually won first prize in the East Bumblefuck Art Show that year, thanks to your constructive criticism and suggestions."

    Kate of Lokys on
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  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I've given personal references for a couple of LewieP's friends that I know well, when they've needed an extra reference beyond Uni lecturer.

    LewieP's Mummy on
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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Yeah, if they don't specify "professional reference," a parent of one of your friends (or even one of your friends) works fine.

    Thanatos on
  • 143999143999 Tellin' ya not askin' ya, not pleadin' with yaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Professors are great for this (especially if you've had more than one class with them). Extracurricular activities are great. Anything that you might have done on a part-time or temporary basis, or anything in classes with unusual specifications (lab work, field work, anything involving a more hands-on approach to whatever it was you did).

    143999 on
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited May 2011
    Probably common sense, but if you go the professor route, try to have it be one who knows you pretty well, and/or one in whose class you did well. Many profs won't write letters for students who didn't stand out to them somehow, and others won't write you a letter unless you did well in their class. That's not to say a prof who doesn't remember you and gave you a D won't write you a letter, but it might not be useful and it could be something you don't want a potential employer to read.

    I've known profs who would totally write the letter for anyone who asked, but they were not always good.

    ceres on
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  • DockenDocken Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Usually I withhold my references until after the interview - if it goes well and they get all the way down the track to hiring me and want to see my references, I generally just give them one and say that that should be more than sufficient considering the quality of my interview and the quality of my reference (ie super relevant, last job from a high level guy). I do also have a uni prof to call on if necessary, but really unless you're fresh out of uni its a pretty stupid thing to ask for.

    I want to say something disparaging about HR people and their desire to tick boxes, but instead I will just say that once you get down to the last couple of people its the manager's call on whether or not you fit the bill and they usually don't care all that much about how many refs you have, provided the one(s) you give are shit hot.

    Docken on
  • mere_immortalmere_immortal So tasty!Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I usually ask a friend who has a career profession, something like a teacher/doctor/legal person.

    Never had any problem with these.

    mere_immortal on
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