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Enthusiastic Reference for Subordinate

"I hope he's impressed with my resume, experience, charm, community involvement, recommendations . . . "

"He's just what the company softball team is looking for."

Few hiring managers trust their own judgment when making hiring decisions, especially at higher levels. That's why companies seek outside opinions. Pay attention to what others say, because nothing can hurt you worse than a luke-warm reference.

In seeking testimonials, don't limit yourself to former bosses. Anyone who knows your work can speak on your behalf. That includes peers, subordinates, suppliers, vendors, consultants, even customers. In short, those who've been above you, below you, and all around you.

Don't leave matters to chance, hoping your references will say the right thing. They may be taken off guard, or they may actually contradict you. The best way to proceed is to draft a statement for your reference person to sign or revise. Giving them the raw material simplifies their task. Remember, few busy managers like to write. It's time consuming, and they've often got urgent matters to handle. If you don't provide them with a written draft, your request for a reference letter may be delayed for weeks.

A well-written reference letter should address these issues:

  1. Job title and dates of employment
  2. Relationship of the writer
  3. key promotions
  4. Duties and responsibilities
  5. Work and/or management style
  6. Areas of major strength
  7. Special training Global contributions
  8. Specific results and achievements, and
  9. Warm personal endorsement (if appropriate)

As always, emphasize results and achievements. That's what sells.

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