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How to Request a Reference Letter?

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Even though it is not common in Turkey, some companies can require reference letters for job applications, like almost all academic programmes including “2 reference letters” in required documents list for applications. At this point, both students and professionals start to think “how and from whom I will get this reference letter”. My advice is, if you are in academic life, it is best request it from the academic in the highest position who also knows about you. It similarly applies to professional life, it would be the wisest to request it from a manager having the highest title or largest network, again who also knows about you. When it comes to “how to request a reference letter”, we can obtain a successful result by gathering this issue under three main titles.

Highlight that person’s features you want the reference from.

Why should particularly that person write it for you? Why do you care so much about their ideas? What makes them unique? If you say, “because he/she is the General Manager or at the top within the company,” then state it (of course in a politer way). If they made any contribution for you being in this position, you must definitely add this detail.

Make an outline.

If you want a detailed and well-written reference, you must provide a detailed and well-written outline. You can specify the content. This doesn’t mean you should include such fact as “he/she is perfect at time management” if you are terrible at it and maybe you deliver half of the job when it’s the day of deadline. You should write about who you really are. Just specify your features that need to be reminded to the reference person who, of course, already knows about them. You may do it in half an hour. That way, you can prevent them to think about it for a whole day and get them to write the letter “effortlessly”. You wouldn’t want to get them to hate you while brooding on it during the process of writing the letter.

Apart from this, you may also want to explain why you chose that position or academic programme in your draft outline. What motivates you? What features of yours do you think will make a contribution? And what kind of contribution will it be?

Guarantee that you will not ask any question.

The reference person will probably not give any negative comments about you. That is why you chose that person, without having any second thoughts about it. However, if he/she has any negative thoughts, you can tell them not to hesitate to write it in their letters, hence you can make them feel more comfortable. And make sure to specify; “I would appreciate if it is possible for me to see a copy of the letter. If you do not want me to read it, I’ll understand your reasons.”

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