REFERENCE LETTER TIPS
Almost everyone at some point in time will be asked to provide a Reference Letter,
whether it’s for employment, educational scholarships, or other opportunities that may
further your success.
When asking an individual to provide you with reference letter, ask someone who knows
you well and knows your potential to succeed in a particular career field or educational
Possible reference sources may be your counselor, professor/teacher,
supervisor, or colleagues.
Family members are not viewed as an impartial reference
source and should not be used. The CIRI Foundation keeps an applicant’s reference letter
on file for three (3) years from the date it was written and signed.
The following suggestions may be helpful when you find an individual to write a reference
letter for you:
Give the referrer a copy of your resume and or educational description and describe
why you need the reference.
Your resume should list a stated purpose, work
experience, educational history, and other accomplishments.
If you know the
referrer well, this will help the person write a better letter.
The more he/she
understands your objective and qualifications, the better reference he/she will be
able to provide on your behalf.
Ask the referrer to start the letter by describing how long he/she has known you
and in what capacity. Include dates of employment and details about how he/she
has worked with or known you.
If the referrer is a past supervisor or co-worker, he/she should include your skills
and performance and what makes/made you a good employee.
The referrer should end by summarizing why he/she is recommending you for
educational funding or a particular job. IMPORTANT: The letter should be signed
and dated, and include the mailing address and phone number of the referrer or on
This will provide the potential employer or educational
funding office the necessary contact information to follow up if there are questions.
Ensure that the reference letter is sent directly to you or addressed to the
educational funding office. When you send out your resume or educational funding
application, you should include a copy of each of the letters(s) and carry them with
you to job interviews or to the educational funding office.
Send a prompt thank you letter to each of your references when you have completed your
job search or received educational funding. It is wise to keep in close contact with your
references for two reasons:
1) References can be a great networking tool to track down job leads or places to
apply for additional educational funding, and
2) You may need their help again down the road.