General discussion

  • Creator
  • #2257578

    Letter of recommendation


    by cheiring ·

    Letter of recommendation

    Long time reader first time poster. I have worked for this small company part time for the last 8 months and I came on knowing that it maybe a while before I go full time if ever. I have recently gotten engaged to my girlfriend of 4 years and can see the expenses coming. So as a response I went back to my boss with the good news and asked if I was ever going to be going full time. He responded with ?I would love for you to come on full time but the budget just isn’t there yet?.

    So I went on the job search for a full time job. I found one at our local school district, it is the exact same job I will am doing now but for more money and its full time. Now here is the catch, I need 3 letters of recommendation, I could get them from old employers but I have not worked for some of these people for years. I want the most up to date recommendations I can get so how do I go about asking my boss for a letter of recommendation without making him come up with something to fire me over. If I can pull this off, I can get 3 really good recommendations out of this company.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3277195

      My thought

      by tink! ·

      In reply to Letter of recommendation

      is that if you have already approached your boss about going full-time and he has denied you, then he should have some understanding to why you would be looking elsewhere.

      If you approach him again with a very friendly but matter-of-fact attitude and make him realize that you wished you could have been full-time with the company but as they cannot fund it, you needed to seek a position elsewhere. You have enjoyed your time with this company and would appreciate the positive backing.

      At least something to that effect anyway.
      Good luck!

      • #3277162

        Word of warning

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to My thought

        I would suspect that you might not get a very positive reaction. It depends of course on the personality.

        I would not approach him unless you are prepared to leave – ie could afford to live without the salary for a bit. I would sit him down and suggest you want to pursue a fulltime job, and ask him how he feels about you staying on until you find something. He will then either suggest you resign, give notice, or he will accept you staying on and looking. When you do it that way, you can follow up with a question abou8t references.


        • #3277136


          by cheiring ·

          In reply to Word of warning

          No, I really don’t have the means to be without a job right now, so I do think you are right on that I shouldn’t say anything unless I can afford to get fired, resign, etc… As for personality, at a flip of a coin he can change from very supportive to unapproachable.

        • #3230020

          Definitely don’t include current boss, then

          by middlingmgr ·

          In reply to Salary

          If your boss is sometimes unapproachable, that is a sign he is likely to turn on you once he knows you are looking elsewhere. You will be treated differently as he then knows he can’t count on you to be around long, and many bosses, I think, even take it as a form of rejection of them so they are a bit resentful and/or stand-offish once you lay out your cards.

          Just the fact he keeps employing you for this service indicates to your current prospect that you are at least satisfactory to that employer, so use others for your recommendation.

          As another tactic, on my last job change, I told them they could contact my supervisor once they had talked to everyone else and made an offer that could be contingent upon my current supervisor’s opinion. That way I knew I wasn’t just 1 of 2,3 or more finalists. I explained to the prospect that my current supervisor would take my looking for a job somewhere else very personally and negatively, and that I didn’t want to risk losing that job unless they were committed to hiring me. That approach worked for me.

      • #3229922

        Do Not Go To Your Boss

        by wayne m. ·

        In reply to My thought

        Remember, the new job is not guaranteed. If you tell your current boss and the new job falls through, you have bascially ended your prospects of going full-time at your current company.

        I don’t think there will be a real negative in not having a reference from your current company (that is the norm – no current company reference), especially if you have only been there 8 months.

        Also, remember, many companies have a policy of only providing confirmation of salary and employment dates. Unless you are very good friends with the recommender, do not expect a glowing review that will give you a job. Focus on finding adequate recommendations that will not shoot down your job opportunity.

        Good luck and don’t worry too much about the references. Sell yourself well in a face-to-face interview and the rest won’t matter!

    • #3166575


      by jdmercha ·

      In reply to Letter of recommendation

      I don’t think I would ever ask my boss for a letter of reccomendation. Do you have any coworkers that know your work? I’d ask them first.

    • #3229423

      Others is a good idea

      by welshbilly ·

      In reply to Letter of recommendation

      It would be better to get recommendations from others.
      Have you spoken to the company your looking at for a full time job?

      Also if it’s a small business your boss may appreciate more notice in order to get a replacement.

    • #3229408

      Just Wait

      by projmgr_ks ·

      In reply to Letter of recommendation

      When you interview for a new job, most potential employers won’t ask for your references until after you’ve passed the first round of interviews, and usually only as a last and final check before making an offer. I would line up two other reference letters, from outside your present company. Wait until after you are sure you have a 90% shot at this job until you ask your present boss for a reference. You could also ask for a reference from an understanding peer at your present job (who can keep their mouth shut). Most people who are hiring will understand your reluctance to approach your current supervisor.

    • #3229403

      Other thoughts

      by diane123 ·

      In reply to Letter of recommendation

      Firtly, every single job (if possible) you should get a letter of recommendation from. This shows continuity of good work. It is more than understandable that the last job will not come with a letter of recommendation, because of the possibility of being fired. So, in my opinion, get all the paperwork you can from previous employers, and then when you have a new job, then ask your present employer for a letter as well. This will stock up your archive.
      Once you have a new job, you also have a bargaining chip – to approach him with a real offer, not a hypotheses, in case he wants to better the offer.

      • #3229382

        Ask others for a letter

        by pcw ·

        In reply to Other thoughts

        Letters do not need to come from your present employer. If this is your first real job consider someone from your last school, your church or the police department. Anyone who has known you for say three years or more. Make sure the person will give you a serious evaluation of you, your ethics, work habits, reliability etc. Get two of these and you will only need one from your present job. Think of someone from another department, another supervisor you can trust and then maybe a senior co-worker. You can approach your current boss but you should expect to be fired. It may have just the opposite effect, you could be wooed with carrots to get you to stay, but you should be prepared just the same. You can quit a job then be talked into staying but there is always the risk you will have lost trust which can be dangerous.


        • #3230027

          Ask Others for a letter

          by tspevak ·

          In reply to Ask others for a letter

          It is possible to get letters of recommendations and references without involving your immediate supervisors or owners.

          The suggestion of coworkers, people you know in the community, maybe vendors you have a strong relationship with, etc. could all be a source for you.

          If you are asked, you can say that you preferred not to ask your current employer because you didn’t want that relationship to sour…It is posisble that you might be wooed into staying, however, it is also likely to turn sour. They can’t fire you for looking for another job. They might make it difficult for you that you might want to leave, or might start scrutinizing your work in an attempt to legitimize a potential firing. I wouldn’t say anything until you have a solid offer from the other company in your hands before you say anything to your current job.

          It is also possible that your current employer might try to sabotage your chances with the other job by not writing a strong letter, too.

          There is just too much potential for things to go wrong by getting your current employer involved.


        • #3229978

          Problem with staying under that condition

          by rhomp20029 ·

          In reply to Ask others for a letter

          I have seen people who were talked into staying and then at the first opportunity they were fired. The idea is that if you were interested in leaving at one time they cannot depend on you so you are damaged goods in their eyes. They will use you until they can replace you and then sayonara. In the meantime the other job is now gone and you are left with nothing. I would be very loath to take an offer under those circumstances. There is just too much possibility of bad vibes there.

      • #3229893

        What is to stop…

        by emj65 ·

        In reply to Other thoughts

        someone from taking the company letterhead and creating their OWN letter of recommendation? Do companies actually take these letters at face value, or do they ever check back with the person who *supposedly* wrote it? I think, if these letters are acceptable as is, then should not past reviews (which are usually documented) be acceptable as well? I’ve always received stellar reviews, and have wanted to use these as a way to leverage a hiring decision in my favor (I’ve never had to, but would like to use it as an ace up my sleeve). Any comments?

        • #3229849

          Checking back on letters of recommendation

          by rhomp20029 ·

          In reply to What is to stop…

          I have worked in a lot of places but primarily in the financial area (stock brokers and banks) and hospitals and educational institutions (college medical centers and research). When letters of recommendation come up in these places, they are logged in and then the HR offices are to check back and not the results in the files. Just like people claiming college degrees these places check back even if you supposedly graduated 30 years earlier. Lying in either case is grounds for immediate dismissal with notations in the file that the person is not to be considered for rehire at a later date. Would you like to take a chance on that one? I wouldn’t.

    • #3230002

      How about this?

      by gkiss ·

      In reply to Letter of recommendation

      I’ve been at my current job for 8 years, and once in a while I receive thank you e-mails from people at work for a job well done and I’ve been collecting them. If you have anything like these, maybe they would serve just as well as a recommendation letter? Just a thought….

      • #3229950

        Just take 2

        by edwin ·

        In reply to How about this?

        If you only worked in 2 places before, take only those references. If the new employer insists, this would give you an insight that the job is not concrete yet.
        And references could also be from people you did not work for.
        Dont even bother with your current employer and try and avoid co-workers recommendations unless you trust them 100%.
        Wish you all the best.

    • #3229839

      Get letters from others

      by rwl ·

      In reply to Letter of recommendation

      If you suspect your boss might take retribution, get letters from co-workers, clients, or past employers instead. If you are a few years out of school, a letter from a prof or TA will do as well. Your potential new boss will understand the awkward situation of having to ask your existing boss for a recommendation. It would be better to explain that you didn’t want to ask your existing boss because it would put him in an awkward situation of having to help a valued part-time employee leave. Better not to say you were worried about retribution, that sounds a little paranoid — though you might we be right.

      The three letters of recommendation is probably just a bureaucratic rule. It’s likely they would accept a letter from your mother as one of them, so long as it filled their filing cabinet. (I know from experience that just about anyone can come up with three letters of recommendation.) what really counts is convincing your potential new boss that you can do the job. Go in with a list of the things you have actually accomplished on the job,

    • #3201805

      Don’t Burn Bridges

      by minstrel mike ·

      In reply to Letter of recommendation

      As others have stated, the references are more to the point of how you work (cheerful, responds to issues, etc) not what you do (computer support, JAVA, etc). The references come after you’ve convinced them you have the technical skills. Thus you can use friends, neighbors, and especially old employers.
      That said, I’d still go to your current boss one more time and tell him about your expensive girlfriend and need for a full-time job. When he turns you down (all for valid, inarguable rasons), then ask him if he’d give you a letter of reference and if he has any leads for a full-time job. He either helps or hurts, but it’s his choice.
      You act like a professional. This is not where you brag about having a job offer or anything. You are just stating your personal need for a full-time job. If he turns cold, too bad. Just keep working and get those references from old employers and coworkers (the hiring company wants to know you show for work on time and not drunk).

      If he turns hostile and fires you on the spot (very unlikely as long as you are professional and not belligerent), then he has burned the bridge, not you. Chances are you will be running into him or others from this company during the rest of your life and everyone will remember how you acted, not what actually occurred and who fired/quit and all that jazz.

      Be professional and honest, just not too open.

      • #3201684

        Don’t Burn Bridges Goes Both Ways

        by patti_wentland ·

        In reply to Don’t Burn Bridges

        I agree with most of the posts–much of the need for 3 references is to see if you can follow directions. Someone would be really inept to submit references for someone they know will say bad things about them..thus, references are somewhat a given they will be positive and truly add little value. Sometimes a phone call will open the door to more information on the fly but, as also indicated in the thread, companies often limit what can be said in a reference call. Thus, almost any 3 will suffice and does not constitute a red flag that you don’t have one from the current employer.

        But, the one thing to maintain IF an offer comes in is to always tell the new employer you need to give two weeks notice to the old employer. While it may seem like a courtesy to the old employer, it’s actually a message to the new employer that if, down the road, there’s a reason to leave them that you won’t leave them without proper notice. It’s possible the old employer may release you when you give notice (if they’re that type) and you can either take a mini-vacation or identify yourself as “available” early. In short, the new employer needs some assurance that when the time comes and they are now the one “in the dark” that you are looking, they can at least expect professional courtesies in a two week notice.

        • #3231053

          Big Emphasis on this point

          by rhomp20029 ·

          In reply to Don’t Burn Bridges Goes Both Ways

          I cannot agree more with Patti on this point. I think that it is ust plain good manners in the first place not to screw your company by just leaving without giving a good notice. It is also good for you since that means that you can use the company for a reference in the future without fear that you will marked down as being a low class employee who screwed them when you left. Not a good reputation to get – ever.

          I think people need to realize that no matter how many employees are involved in IT, it is a small community. I worked and lived in NYC. Many times I ran into people who kept me informed about people I had worked with long before and where they were working and what they were doing and how they were treating their employers. I also ran into a lot of people who kept me informed about the atmosphere at the different places they worked and whether it was a good place or not. You also need to realize that I am not a social person at all. I did not go out of my way to get this information. It was freely given without my even asking. If you get a bad rep on that network, you might as well leave town and it will be almost impossible for you to turn it around. I am sure that employers and HR people and other IT bosses were part of the same network as I was,

          I think young people in particular need to realize that all along your career you need to keep in mind that your reputation is one of the most valuable things you can have. Keep your name in good repute and it will make your career advancement a whole lot easier. Mess it up and you are on the way to being almost unemployable.

    • #3230973

      Type of reference

      by kiltie ·

      In reply to Letter of recommendation

      I agree with all of the good advice given in the above posts, but one thing is missing, that may set your mind at rest.

      It is almost impossible to get a “bad” reference, in the sense of saying bad things about you, it leaves the person giving the reference (and the company) open to libel action for defamation of character.

      So they don’t do that.

      In fact, I believe it is illegal in many countries.

      The “worst” possible reference you can get is one in which the minimum factual information is given, along the lines of….

      “Mr X started employment with the company on {date} in the capacity of {job title}”

      But you are unlikely to get one that bad, unless you really screwed up somewhere along the line.

      • #3230919

        They can still give it

        by rhomp20029 ·

        In reply to Type of reference

        Where that reference will be given is if the seeker of truth at one company knows the giver of reference at another and calls them up on the phone. Then it will be passed along but without copies. How the seeker phrases it on the report will of course fit your comments but the damage will be done and you will not be able to charge libel. Screwing the company when you give notice is a really good way to get one that bad.

    • #3230766

      Boss Recommendation

      by ginaburr100 ·

      In reply to Letter of recommendation

      I would try recommendations other than the boss, I have been a Manager and I look at the content of the recommendation, not the source, particularly. Be careful, cause if the part-time boss gets wind, we hope he won’t be vindictive….. A recommendation is a recommendation, and your new boss to be should understand that.

      • #3230754

        You make a good point

        by rhomp20029 ·

        In reply to Boss Recommendation

        I think if I were in the position of hiring someone again, I would want to get some idea from the users, from those working for the applicant and from those the applicant worked for. I would especially be interested in how the person interacted with his fellow employees. I once worked with someone who was a great programmer but you had to be afraid to let him work with anyone else. He did not play well with others. If you are looking for someone who has to be involved in teamwork, that point would be important. If you are looking for someone you can stick in a cage somewhere and throw raw meat to them once a day, the other type is what you want. The other thing I would want to know is whether this applicant is someone who has to be followed up all the time whatever he is given to do.

        If I were pulling together my recommendations to submit to a prospective employer, I would want to find a way to touch base on all these things as they are what will tell the new employer just what I was about and would allow him to choose better whether I would fit in. It takes two and the more info you can share between the two the better in the long run.

    • #3282589

      Who says it has to be your current boss?

      by blueknight ·

      In reply to Letter of recommendation

      Is the prospective employer asking for a letter from your current boss? What about getting letters from current coworkers, or even someone else you’ve worked for previously.

      If you think asking the current boss is risky and you don’t mind being a bit sneaky, tell him that you have a chance to help out a non-profit and would like him to write a letter as to your qualifications for work similar to what you’re performing for him. Just have him write it “To Whom It May Concern,” so you can use it elsewhere if this doesn’t pan out.

      This way, you may get the letter you need without jeopardizing your position. Just a thought.

Viewing 10 reply threads