In the OIE blog you’ll find tips and tricks for creating good résumés and cover letters. However, we have yet to talk about another key element that will give your profile added value during a selection process; and that is the letter of recommendation.
So what are these so called letters of recommendation? They are simply letters in which your previous employers provide information on the skills and abilities they valued most in you during the time you worked with them.
Having someone who is willing to talk about your qualities, whether it be on a social network or in a document, will increase your chances of finding a job. Not to mention, these types of recommendations will set you apart from other candidates in a selection process.
However, asking for a letter of recommendation is not always easy. Here are some tips on how to go about doing it:
- Choose the right person. Someone who is able to make a good assessment of your skills as an employee. Ideally, it should be your boss, not a colleague, as long as you know that she or he has a positive view of the time you spent at the company.
- Decide how to request it. Today there are several channels through which you can request a letter of recommendation, such as by phone, email, in person or through a social network. In the event that you decide to use a social network, like LinkedIn for example, keep in mind that the information will be always visible. This is a plus, as long as the recommendation is good, since recruiters who are looking for candidates will be able to read it.
What does a letter of recommendation include? In general, a letter of recommendation has four parts:
- Identification: this includes the name of the person recommending you and yours.
- Context: a brief description of where and when you worked together.
- Recommendation: this is perhaps the most important part since it is where the person providing the recommendation indicates the positive traits you displayed while working for them.
- Closing: this part includes contact information, such as the phone number or email address of the person providing the recommendation, which can be used by the hiring company in case they have any questions that need clarifying.
Remember never to provide someone as a reference without their consent. Always ask for their permission before providing a reference’s contact information.
Don’t forget that good recommendations can open many doors for you.