Reference letters play an important role in the job application process. They provide insight into a candidate’s abilities, personality, and work ethic. However, knowing when to submit a reference letter can be confusing. In this article, we’ll provide tips and examples to help you determine the best time to submit a reference letter.
Tips for When to Submit a Reference Letter
Before we dive into specific examples, here are some general tips for when to submit a reference letter:
- Submit the letter as soon as possible: If a potential employer asks for a reference letter, try to submit it within a few days of the request.
- Submit the letter with your application: If the job posting asks for reference letters, include them with your application materials.
- Submit the letter after an interview: If you’ve had an interview and the employer has asked for a reference letter, it’s appropriate to submit it within a week or two of the interview.
- Ask the employer: If you’re unsure when to submit a reference letter, ask the employer for their preference.
Examples of When to Submit a Reference Letter
Request for Academic Reference
Dear Professor Smith,
I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to reach out and ask if you would be willing to serve as a reference for me for a graduate program I am applying to. The application deadline is next month, so I wanted to give you plenty of notice. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Request for Employment Reference
Dear Mr. Johnson,
I hope this email finds you well. I am applying for a job at XYZ Company and I was wondering if you would be willing to serve as a reference for me. The job posting asks for three references and I think your perspective would be valuable. Please let me know if you’re available and if there’s any additional information you need from me.
Submitting References with Application
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am excited to apply for the Marketing Associate position at ABC Company. As requested, I have included three reference letters with my application materials. These references can speak to my skills, work ethic, and personality, and I believe they would be valuable assets to your evaluation process. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Request for Reference after Interview
Dear Ms. Williams,
Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the Accounts Payable Specialist position at XYZ Company. I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the role and the company. In our discussion, you mentioned that you would like to speak with some of my references. I have included their contact information below and I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you again for your time.
Request for Academic Reference after Graduation
Dear Professor Lee,
I hope this email finds you well. I am applying to law school and I was wondering if you would be willing to serve as a reference for me. I know it has been a few years since I graduated, but I believe your perspective on my academic abilities and work ethic would be valuable. Please let me know if this would be possible and if there’s any additional information you need from me.
Request for Character Reference
Dear Mr. Patel,
I hope this message finds you well. I am applying for a volunteer position with a local nonprofit organization and I was wondering if you would be willing to serve as a character reference for me. Your knowledge of my community involvement and personal attributes would be valuable assets to my application. Please let me know if you’re available and if there’s any additional information you need from me.
Thank you for your time,
Request for Reference with Short Notice
Dear Ms. Lee,
I hope this email finds you well. I am applying for a job and I was wondering if you would be willing to serve as a reference for me. I apologize for the short notice, but the application deadline is tomorrow and I just learned that I need to provide references. I understand if this isn’t possible, but I wanted to reach out and ask. Thank you for your time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I submit a reference letter before I apply for a job?
It’s generally not necessary to submit a reference letter before you apply for a job, as most employers will request references later in the hiring process. However, if you have a reference letter that you believe would be particularly valuable to an employer, you could include it with your application materials.
How many reference letters should I submit?
The number of reference letters you should submit depends on the job posting and the employer’s requirements. Some job postings will ask for a specific number of references, while others may simply ask for “references upon request.” As a general rule, it’s a good idea to have at least three references on hand.
What should I do if I don’t have any work references?
If you don’t have any work references, you could consider asking a professor, mentor, coach, or other professional contact who can speak to your skills and work ethic. You could also consider volunteering or doing an internship to gain work experience and build your references.
How long should a reference letter be?
A reference letter should be one to two pages long. It should include specific examples of the candidate’s skills, work ethic, and personality, and it should be written in a professional tone.
Can I use the same reference letter for multiple job applications?
It’s generally not recommended to use the same reference letter for multiple job applications, as each job may have different requirements and the letter should be tailored to the specific position. However, you can use similar language and examples in each letter.
What should I do if I suspect a reference letter is not accurate or truthful?
If you suspect that a reference letter is not accurate or truthful, you should address your concerns with the reference writer. You could ask for clarification or ask if they would be willing to revise the letter. If the letter is still inaccurate or untruthful, you should consider finding a different reference.
Knowing when to submit a reference letter is an important part of the job application process. By following these tips and examples, you can ensure that your reference letters are submitted at the appropriate time and provide valuable insight to potential employers.