Who to Ask for a ReferenceMany people feel pretty put upon when someone casually calls and requests a reference. Those who would make sense are former bosses, co-workers, customers, vendors, colleagues, and college professors who can be references. Above all, please remember to ask, not demand.

Help your reference: Ask about the type of reference they are comfortable providing, a phone reference or a written letter. Be wary of the written reference letter, especially if there has been a layoff. Some job seekers already have reference letters and use them for every instance.

Create one of two reference letters yourself or have the reference letters professionally designed, and suggest that you send a sample to the reference giver as a guideline. Suppose you are a recent grad or have not worked in a while. You may use personal contacts or someone who knows your skills.

How to Ask for a Reference: It would help if you were sure that you asked the right person to write a reference letter or give you a verbal reference. You also need to know what the reference giver will say about you. Do ask the reference writer if you can use them as a reference. Update the potential contact regarding the type of positions you are applying for, so they can tailor their recommendation to fit your circumstances.

Thank You: Send a quick thank you email once the references once the new company has hired you. One bad reference can cost you the offer. A worse fate is the great reference that cannot be reached or is no longer at your previous company. Follow your references on LinkedIn to be alerted to their job status change.

Company Reference Policy: Be aware that some employers will not provide references. Due to litigation concerns, they will only provide the job title, employment dates, and salary history. If that is the case, be creative and find alternative reference writers willing to speak to your qualifications.