How To Ask For an Employment Reference
If you are in fact asked to submit employment references, you can ask for a reference by phone or by email. Email can be a good way to request a reference because if the person isn’t comfortable recommending you it can be easier to decline by sending an email message than by telling you in person.
When you ask for a reference, don’t just say “Could you give me a reference?” or “Could you write a reference letter for me?” Instead, ask “Do you think you know my work well enough to provide me with a reference?” or “Do you feel comfortable giving me a reference?” or “Do you feel you could give me a positive reference?” This way, your reference giver has an out if they don’t believe they can provide a strong endorsement or if they don’t have the time to write a letter or take phone calls from employers on your behalf.
When the person you are asking for a reference replies positively, offer to provide them with an updated copy of your resume, to share your LinkedIn profile, if you have one, and to provide information on your skills and experiences so your reference has current and relevant information on your employment history and skills. Also, take the time to stay in touch and keep your references updated on your employment status.