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Applicant Request For a Reference

Summary:

This section covers writing additional correspondence beyond cover letters including reference requests, interview follow-up letters, inquiry letters, acceptance and rejection letters, request for further negotiations letters and thank you letters.

Contributors:Purdue OWL
Last Edited: 2010-04-25 08:52:47

During your job search, a prospective employer may request a list of references prior to or during an interview. This request may take the form of a response to a written job application, a question on a company application or as an addendum to your resume. Your reference sheet should list the names, addresses and relation to you for each reference. For more information, see the OWL handout on writing a reference sheet.

As a courtesy, you should get in touch with the people you wish to include on your reference list and ask permission to use their names. This contact will allow them to prepare adequate answers to questions about you so they will not be caught by surprise when prospective employers call or write. Also, those contacted can decline you permission, if they wish. You may find it worthwhile to reintroduce yourself to the people on your list, particularly if you have not spoken to them for a while. The suggestions below will be helpful if you need to write a letter to contact your references.

What do you include?

Model for Writing a Reference Request Letter

February 10, 2001

Louie Lab
1234 University St.
University City, IN 12345

Dear Mr. Lab:

You will need to write a reference request letter before you create a reference sheet to distribute to potential employers. It is meant to give the reference some warning that an employer may be contacting them. It also insures that they have the most up-to-date information about your qualifications and education. In the first paragraph, your primary goal is to reintroduce yourself to your potential reference. Simply give a quick review of the relationship and situations the two of you shared. This opening should be courteous and polite. Provide a little information about yourself. This is especially important if you have not spoken with your potential reference in some time. State your field of study, year in school, and/or career aspirations.

Next, you should formally ask to use this person as a reference. Briefly discuss the position for which you are applying and how the reference will be used. Will it be utilized as an addition to your resume or presented at the interview? This information will give your reference a better understanding of the information that would be expected from them if an employer contacted them.

Finally, close the letter with a sentence that assumes you have permission to use the reference unless you hear otherwise. You may wish to include a self-addressed stamped card so that the person may send you an answer. Also, include a copy of your resume with the letter. This will provide helpful information about your qualifications and allow the reference to speak intelligently to potential employers. Thank the reference for allowing you to use them in your job search and end with a friendly closing.

Sincerely,

Lucy Letter

123 Winner's Road
New Employee Town, PA 12345

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