By Frances Chaves
The reality of today’s job market is that jobs don’t last forever. So it’s a good idea to be prepared for your next transition. You will need positive current references. But if you haven’t told your current employer that you are looking for another job, you can’t use them as a reference. Create a list of co-workers, clients, and/or former employers who are familiar with your work and who you trust not to tell your current employer.
When asking someone to write you a reference that has a relationship with your current employer, you may want to use the excuse that you are getting your LinkedIn profile up to 100 percent which requires current references. LinkedIn allows you to review the reference before it is posted.
Alison Doyle suggests asking the person the following questions so that they have an out if they don’t think they can give you a positive reference: “Do you think you know my work well enough to provide me with a reference?” or “Do you feel comfortable giving me a reference” or “Do you feel you could give me a good reference?”
When I request a reference by email, I always give a summary of the position that I am interested in, including keywords. Hopefully the reference will then include the keywords. I also provide a link to my LinkedIn account so the reference writer has access to my resume information and recent employment activity, publications, etc.
A reference from a current volunteer position can also be very helpful.