The Very Best Way to Present Your References

Ask each of your references to write a letter of recommendation. There are three reasons for this: (1) if they are not willing to be a reliable reference, they are unlikely to put forth the time necessary to write the letter of recommendation, (2) you will be able to use it as a ready-made reference to supply to potential employers, and (3) a letter of recommendation is a good way for you to prequalify those who will provide you with the best overall reference.

Positive words of praise from others speak volumes.

It is best to allow your references some latitude in developing the letter of recommendation, but for those who are clueless, ask them to follow this format:

  • How they know you and how long they have known you
  • What they think of you (professionally and/or personally)
  • Why they think you would make a great _____ (their recommendation)

This letter should always be typed on the letterhead of the company or institution. The following is a sample letter of recommendation.