Getting a letter of reference.

You may be secure in your current position, but when you apply for a new job, you will need an employment eeference from at least one person. Most companies ask for three to five employment references. The best time to obtain them is while you are still in a job and while you have access to key people who will be able to vouch for your performance, skills and personality qualities.

How and Who to Ask for an Employment Reference
Never list a person as an employment reference without prior permission. Ask people who are in management, supervising, client or mentoring positions for verbal or written references. You can ask former employers and co-workers, teachers and lecturers, and even your pastor, or someone that did community service with you. Prepare them by providing and overview of the type of jobs you plan to apply for. This ensures that their references are suitable for your applications.

Getting an Employment Reference from Your Company
Many companies are only willing to state the employment commencement and separation dates, type of position, and salary, because they protect themselves against any lawsuits. Whenever you leave a company, make sure you get an employment reference. If the company closes or the person leaves the company, you will at least have the reference letter to proof that you were employed.

Character Reference
Employers want to verify your previous employment. If you haven't worked before or were studying full time, you may use business acquaintances, military personnel references, neighbors, and pastors to provide a reference about your character

Employment Reference File
Whenever possible, obtain reference letters and keep them in a file. Compile and update your reference list monthly. Provide regular feedback to the people on the list about the progress of your job hunt. Each reference should include:

  • Name of Person
  • Position
  • Contact numbers
  • Company
  • Address
  • Relationship

Don't include the references in your resume, rather have it on a separate page that you can fax or hand to the prospective employer upon request. If you email the list, include it in the body of the message. The potential employer needs your permission to contact an Employment Reference. Warn the people on your list. Make sure all the persons are relevant, reliable and that their contact details are still the same, before you hand the list to the interviewer.