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Crafting the Perfect Reference Request Email: Tips and Examples

Claire Stachniewska
April 6, 2023

References are an essential part of the hiring process and can make all the difference in landing your dream job or achieving your personal goals.

New to hiring? No problem!
This article is the hiring 101 that will help you to hit the ground running.

A reference letter from a previous employer or a coworker can serve as a valuable testament to your skills, work ethic, and character.

However, before you can secure a reference, you must first ask for one. This is where crafting a persuasive and thoughtful reference request email comes in. The purpose of this email is to ask someone to speak on your behalf and provide a positive recommendation.

But, it's not just about asking for a reference. It's about presenting yourself in the best possible light and demonstrating why you are the ideal candidate for the position. This is why taking the time to craft a persuasive reference request email is crucial.

Crafting this kind of email can be time-consuming, especially when applying for multiple jobs or seeking multiple references. However, HiPeople offers a solution to simplify and optimize the process. Our role-specific reference surveys can help you easily and quickly build surveys that will move the needle and get the results you need.

In this article, we'll provide tips and examples to help you write a compelling reference request email for either a professional or personal reference. Keep reading to learn more.

Tips for Writing a Compelling Reference Request Email

Here are some pointers to help you craft an impressive and compelling reference request email that will inspire the recipient to write a glowing recommendation:

  • Address recipient appropriately: Use their preferred name/title and polite greeting for a professional tone.
  • Clearly state purpose of request: Explain why you need a reference, the specific opportunity, and why the recipient is a good fit.
  • Remind recipient of relationship: Help them remember your work/achievements together to write a strong reference.
  • Provide relevant information: Include job/opportunity details to align with the position.
  • Be polite and respectful: Show gratitude, urgency, and professionalism in your request.

If you're looking for fast, compliant, and effective reference checks, HiPeople can help. Our role-specific reference surveys provide insights that help you make informed hiring decisions. Start building your reference surveys today and hire the best talent with ease.

Crafting an Effective Subject Line

The subject line of your reference request email is the first thing the recipient will see, so it's essential to make it attention-grabbing and informative. Here are some tips to help you craft an effective subject line:

  1. Be specific: Make sure your subject line clearly communicates the purpose of your email, whether it's a request for a professional reference or a personal one.
  2. Be concise: Keep your subject line short and to the point. A subject line that is too long or wordy may be overlooked or not fully read.
  3. Be compelling: Use language that is engaging and persuasive. Your subject line should inspire the recipient to open your email and take action.

Here are some examples of effective subject lines for different types of reference request emails:

  • Professional Reference Request: "Request for Professional Reference: [Your Name]"
  • Personal Reference Request: "Reference Request for Volunteer Position: [Your Name]"
  • Reference Request Follow-Up: "Checking in on Reference Request: [Your Name]"

Use these tips to craft an attention-grabbing and informative subject line that will increase the likelihood of your reference request email being opened and read.

Sample Reference Request Emails for Professional References

Here are some tips for crafting an effective email when requesting a professional reference:

  • Introduce yourself and remind the recipient of your previous interactions.
  • State the purpose of your email and why you are requesting a reference.
  • Highlight the skills or experiences you would like the reference to focus on.
  • Provide any necessary information about the job or opportunity.
  • Include specific instructions or deadlines for submitting the reference.
  • Express gratitude for the recipient's time and consideration.

When requesting a reference via email, be clear, concise, and personalized. Customize the email, provide all necessary information, and express gratitude. Avoid using a generic template, requesting a reference from someone you haven't spoken to in a long time, and forgetting to follow up.

Sample Reference Request Emails for Personal References

If you're looking to request a personal reference for a volunteer position, rental application, or any other non-work-related opportunity, it's important to craft a thoughtful email. Here are some tips to help you create an effective email that will get results:

  • Begin by introducing yourself and reminding the recipient of your relationship, if any.
  • Explain the purpose of your request and why the recipient is a good fit to provide a reference.
  • Highlight the skills or experiences you would like the reference to focus on, based on the requirements of the opportunity you are applying for.
  • Provide any necessary information about the opportunity, such as a brief overview or the application requirements.
  • Include any specific instructions or deadlines for submitting the reference.
  • Express gratitude for the recipient's time and consideration.

When requesting personal references, it's important to follow proper etiquette and be respectful of the recipient's time. Make sure to give them enough notice and provide clear instructions for submitting the reference.

Follow-Up and Thank You Emails

After receiving a positive response from your reference, it's important to follow up with them and express gratitude for their time and support. This helps to maintain a positive relationship with the reference and shows that you value their contribution.

Here are some tips for crafting effective follow-up and thank-you emails:

  • Send a follow-up email to confirm that the reference has submitted the recommendation and thank them for their assistance.
  • Even if you receive a negative response from a reference, it's still important to follow up and express gratitude for their time and consideration.
  • When writing a thank-you email, be specific about the ways in which the reference helped you and update them on your progress.
  • Keep your emails concise, professional, and respectful of the reference's time and schedule.

Following up and expressing gratitude after receiving a reference can go a long way in building strong professional and personal relationships. By using these tips and crafting effective reference request emails, you can make the most out of your references and reach your hiring goals.

Don't forget, HiPeople’s automated reference checking software can help you streamline the reference checking process and make informed hiring decisions.

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