Asking for a recommendation letter can feel a bit intimidating and awkward, especially if you are asking for one from your current boss! It’s much easier to ask for one when you are being laid off, for example. They usually feel a bit guilty, so you can put that to work for you and end up with a stellar reference.
Why you shouldn’t wait to ask for a letter of recommendation
But you don’t have to wait until you are unemployed to start preparing for a new job, however, and there are numerous reasons why you shouldn’t. Job searching while you still have a job makes you look more desirable to potential employers and puts you in a better position to bargain for the pay and benefits that you want.
So how do you ask for a recommendation without tipping off your employer that you are looking elsewhere? You might not be able to ask for one without being honest, or you could simply state that you are beefing up your LinkedIn profile. Either way, you shouldn’t let co-workers know that you are looking, it can create tension and gossip.
It’s important that you find a non-imposing way to ask for a recommendation, and also that you ask the right person. Let them know that you value their professional opinion and judgement, and ask them if they feel that they know you and your skills enough to provide a letter of recommendation. Asking in this manner allows them a way to say no without looking like a jerk.
What should your letter include?
You want to avoid a letter that is generic and vague. A good letter of recommendation should give a clear picture of your skills, and more importantly, how those skills provided value at your company. The letter should clearly state any specific achievements, such as increasing sales or implementing new software. So, it might make sense to refer your endorser to this article with some very useful tips on how to write a letter of recommendation.
Always remember to be respectful when looking for new employment. Don’t use company time to job search, never badmouth your company or fellow employees, and make sure you are doing your job well, right up until your last day.