Reference Letters: The Secret Weapon That Can Get You a Job

If you’re job hunting, you probably realize you must create an excellent impression. You can do that in many ways.

You might get a haircut and dress for success in your best outfit. You can also practice what you’ll say with a family member. They can ask you questions, and you can give them your best response before the actual interview.

You can also polish your resume. You might rework it so that it shows you in the best possible light. You must also consider your reference letters, though. They matter more than you might think.

If you don’t realize the impact of a letter of reference on a candidate’s chances, it’s high time you learned. These letters can work as secret weapons that get you the job in some instances.

Who Can Write These Letters for You?

First, you must figure out who can write a reference letter for you. You must pick the appropriate person or people if you need multiple letters.

You might ask a former high school teacher or college professor. If you had a favorite teacher or professor in high school or college, they might help you in this area.

If you had them for multiple years and you grew close, they can say you have excellent skills and a professional demeanor. They might mention that you never came to class late and always did your homework. They may even say that you helped tutor some other kids and that you have an unfailingly upbeat spirit.

Who Else Might Write Your Reference Letters?

You may also have a pastor, rabbi, or some other religious leaders write a reference letter when you’re job hunting. Maybe you’ve attended that religious institution for many years. This person might know you and discuss how you’ve grown up and become a responsible society member.

They might say that you volunteer on the weekends. Maybe you pass out lunches at homeless shelters or soup kitchens. You might clean up trash around your neighborhood or distribute warm clothing in the winter.

If they can discuss your character without gushing too much, that’s perfect. They should recommend you based on your personality, but they shouldn’t make you sound saintlike.

You Can Get a Letter from a Former Coworker

You may also get a letter from a former coworker. They can talk about how you always helped them do their work on time. They might describe how you picked up the slack or went above and beyond what your duties required.

They might mention how you never missed days. They can say you helped train new workers and how you willingly put in long hours if there was a project due or your former company wanted a new client’s trust.

All that means you’re a team player, and this hiring manager or company owner might like that. If your former workers liked having you on the team, they might give you a shot for that reason.

You can also have a former boss write a reference letter, but only if you left that job on good terms. If you left because your former boss wouldn’t give you a raise, and they’re sore about that, you should definitely find some other letter writer.

What Impact Might These Letters Have?

When you meet a hiring manager or a business owner, they will look at everything you show them if they’re considering hiring you. You must make a good impression when they meet you.

That means speaking up clearly and confidently. If you can tell them about your education, previous jobs you’ve had, and anything else that qualifies you, that’s all great.

Maybe you and some other candidates all seem like good fits, though. You might all have the academic background that this job requires. Perhaps you all have comparable former job experience as well.

Your reference letters might set you apart. If you can find someone who can write a couple of letters that describe you correctly, that might convince the business owner or hiring manager that you outshine the competition.

These letters can really help personalize you. If the hiring manager or business owner only sees a new tie and a friendly smile, that might not do it.

The story these letters tell can get you the job or at least earn you a trial period. You can do the rest by yourself. You can impress your new boss so they’ll keep you around.