How to Ask Someone to Be a Reference in 2022

When you're beginning your job hunt, it's crucial to gather references from individuals who can verify your skills and abilities.

Numerous companies will ask you to submit an extensive list of references in your application for employment or present references during your interview.

If you can provide references before the interview, it will assist in speeding up the process of hiring and prevent having to search for witnesses to your credentials at the last moment.

Through this post, discover what is professional reference, and also how to ask someone to be a reference, and get helpful examples to help you.

What Is a Professional Reference?

How to Ask Someone to Be a Reference (1)

Before we know how to ask someone to be a reference, let's know what professional reference is all about. A reference could provide a description or confirm your professional experiences.

Some examples of references are coworkers from the past, former employers, internship managers, professors or coaches, and even the heads of the organizations you've volunteered with.

Employers may call your references and ask questions regarding your abilities and work experience. How your references describe your professional and personal qualities could assist you in getting hired.

Different types of references you can Utilize

Before we know how to ask someone to be a reference, let's know the different types of references. References praise your character and qualities (a personal reference) or your professional experience, work qualifications and capabilities (an employment reference). Hiring managers typically contact your references by email or phone to assess your abilities as a job-seeker.

Always seek permission before asking someone to be a reference in your job lookup. So, they can expect to be contacted and will be able to discuss your credentials for the job.

It is possible to ask someone to be an official reference by sending an official letter via mail or email. Learn the best way to draft a letter requesting permission to use someone as a reference.

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How to Choose the Best References

Before we know how to ask someone to be a reference, let's know how to choose the best reference. It is essential to select who you'll need to contact wisely.

Typically you must give potential employers three references. Be sure to choose people who can provide you with excellent references. Consider people who will refer to your abilities and credentials for the position.

However, this doesn't necessarily mean that all references must include former employers. You may also use colleagues or professors, customers or vendors for sources.

You could solicit an individual reference if you're working with a few contacts. It is possible to ask a family member to provide you with a reference in certain situations.

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How to Ask Someone to Be a Reference

Now let's know how to choose the best reference:

1. Select the most suitable people

It is essential to consider who your references are before beginning the process of searching for a job since references are often asked for at any time during the application. Create a list of those that could be referenced. Think about people who would be highly regarded for your achievements, work ethic, character, and skills.

References could refer to one of these:

  • Former managers and supervisors
  • Former employees
  • Former coworkers
  • Industry colleagues
  • Teachers, advisors, mentors or instructors
  • Connections through volunteering, academic clubs, or professional organizations.

The more recently you've worked or interacted with a possible reference, the more likely you will get. However, you can make exceptions for employees of the organization you're applying to, respected community members or a boss you once had who was particularly receptive to your work.

Please list anyone you could think of, and then limit it to your preferences, as well as what the relationships are about and the job you're seeking. Typically, employers request not more than three references. However, having more than four or five is recommended in case any of them become inaccessible.

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2. Notify your references in advance

After you've selected your references, be sure to notify them promptly. It is essential to avoid situations in which your references are approached without having listed them. This can affect the credibility of their reference and even put your opportunity at risk.

The person providing you with a reference may also have to compose an official letter, complete the questionnaire, or call the human resources department via phone. This isn't a simple job. Make sure you give your future reference ample time to think about the request and acknowledge them to thank them for the time they put into their effort.

3. Be respectful and mindful of how you're accepted.

If it's been a while since you've had a conversation with an individual, you might want to make connections between history and the present. Include the projects you worked on with them and where you're at in your current professional direction.

A resume is an excellent method to accomplish this. Always offer your future reference the option of declining by saying, “Would you feel comfortable being a reference to me?” or, “I know that your time is important, and you should not hesitate to inform me when it's not a good moment for you.”

If they hesitate, remove yourself from the invite and shift your options to the next possibility. It is better to keep your relationship in the long term.

4. Include them with helpful information

Once you've sent the list of references to the prospective employer, send an email to each one of your references to let them know the name of the company in contact and, if you have the details, the details the company is asking for.

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Send brief descriptions of the position and any particular information you'd like them to discuss to aid your references in knowing what they should say.

Example of how to ask someone to be a reference

After we known how to ask someone to be a reference, let's know what professional reference is all about. A lot of people request references via email.

It allows you to include links or attachments to valuable documents, such as your resume or job description. Here's an example reference request email:

Subject line: Jackie Cook: Reference Request

Dear Dr. Devon Hart,

I am currently pursuing the position of marketing assistant for Carlyle Media Group and would be delighted to refer you to me as a reference. After two years with Blue Sky Publishing, I think you have the ability to prove my expertise and experience in the marketing and media sector.

I've included my resume and an outline of the position of Marketing Assistant below for your review. Please get in touch with me if you require additional details. Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.

I am looking forward to getting back to you.


Jackie Cook



If you want someone to be a reference in a letter, use an identical outline; however, make sure to format it in a business letter format. The format should include your name and contact details in the upper right-hand corner of the document and then the date, the name of your reference and contact details.

The discussion is more flexible if you request an example over the call or in person. But make sure to provide your reference the exact details you would provide in an email and let the conversation lead you.

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