How to Request Someone to Be Your Reference?

Potential employers rely on a reference list to conduct professional background checks and confirm the details on your resume. For this reason, it’s imperative to include such names who would speak positively of your professional and personal qualities.

However, asking for references can be intimidating, especially if your seniors or boss is unaware of you looking for better opportunities. Therefore, it is a huge favour to ask them to speak positively about you and your attributes to the potential hiring managers. How your reference people describe you and your qualities can either make or break your chance of landing your dream job.

How to Request Someone for a Reference?

You can ask someone for a reference via email, letter, or even a phone call. However, before you connect, there are a couple of steps you need to follow.

  • Find the right people:

It’s no secret that everyone isn’t friendly at work. So start with a list of names who respect you, your job ethics, character, and accomplishments. Narrow down at least three or four names based on the nature of your relationship.

  • Notify the potential references:

Next, reach out to the references and tell them how their support would help you land your dream job. If you don’t inform them beforehand, it may hinder the chances of you getting the job.

  • Introduce yourself:

It can be a while since you connected with your potential references. So, reintroduce yourself and keep your request brief and straightforward. Give them time to review your details, how you know each other, your eligibility for the job description, and so on.

  • Ask politely for a reference:

You may share an excellent rapport with your potential references, but they don’t need to keep your request. Use languages like, “I know you are busy, but would you feel comfortable being my reference? instead of can I include you in my reference list? If you sense any hesitation, back out with your request, thank them for their time, and move to the next option.

  • Provide sufficient details:

If someone accepts your reference request, make sure you update them on everything about you and the job. For example, share your resume with the references to learn more about your upgraded skills, qualifications, the projects you’ve worked on, etc., so they can understand everything about the industry and your job.

  • Reconfirm the contact details:

Gather all the necessary contact details, from phone numbers to mailing addresses. Also, ask them their preferred mode of contact to avoid surprises.

6 Important Tips for Making Effective Reference Requests

Keep the following tricks in mind for making a reference request:

  1. Write to impress:

If you are unsure about your professional writing skills, use free writing tools. Most students use online devices like essay writers, essay makers, paper editors, or AGLC or Harvard referencing tools to enhance their writing quality. If not tools, you can always hire a professional pay for assignments expert for assistance.

  • Keep 4/5 references in hand:

You might think three references are sufficient, but what if someone has to travel for work or falls sick? Therefore, always gather some extra references for the just-in-case scenario.

  • List them out:

Once you have the required number of references, list them out according to their names, job titles, organisation names, phone numbers, along the mailing address. You can also mention your relationship with the reference in a single line.

  • Don’t be persistent:

Whether you request old colleagues or seniors, don’t push them for being your reference. Remember, the best references will only aim to talk the best, so you get the job. So don’t ruin your chances by forcing someone to talk about your or your professional life.

  • Stay connected:

When someone agrees to reference, don’t forget to send an email thanking them. Here’s a sample for you:

Subject line: Reference request – thank you

Dear Richard,

Thank you once again for accepting my reference request. Fortunately, I have completed the initial interview rounds for the Senior Manager in Operations post, and the hiring team of ADG Marketing may contact you soon. I have attached the necessary details of their job role. Let me know if you need anything more from my end.

Thank you!

Angela Lawson

  • Follow up:

Since they have taken out the time to provide a positive reference, they would certainly like to get an update about your hiring status.

Here’s an example:

Subject line: Reference request – update

Dear Richard,

I just got the employment letter from ADG Marketing. Thank you so much for being my reference; I am sincerely grateful. I’d be happy to return the favour by being your reference in the future if needed.

Thanks again,

Angela Lawson

How to Ask for a Reference: Example

Although most people request a reference over a call or in-person meeting, sending an email will allow you to attach job-related documents to help the potential references prep. Here’s an example:

Subject line: Angela Lawson – Reference Request

Dear April,

I hope you are keeping well!

I am currently job hunting as a Senior Marketing Manager and wonder if you would be comfortable being my reference. Since we’ve worked for five years at H&K Marketing, I believe you can provide my potential employers with the necessary information relevant to my job, skills, and experience.

I have attached my resume and other details relevant to my current job for your perusal. Thank you so much for your consideration.

I look forward to your response.


Angela Lawson


The way you request can have a significant impact on the final output. Always choose the right people for the purpose. Make sure you provide enough details for them to prepare before the call. Finally, thank them for the favour and keep them updated to maintain a cordial relationship.

Author Bio

Jenny Green is a writing specialist and works at a publishing house in Australia. She is also a certified citation specialist and offers citation lessons in Harvard, APA, and AGLC referencing styles at, a popular do my homework website on the internet today.