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When you resign from a job, you should make every effort to notify your supervisor as soon as possible – and the general rule of thumb is to provide at least two weeks’ notice. But some circumstances dictate you leave sooner, or even immediately.

If that happened to you and now you’re seeking a new position elsewhere, it may feel awkward to ask your former employer for a letter of recommendation. But remember, that letter could carry a lot of weight in your search.

How to Handle a Sticky Situation

If you had a good relationship with your former boss, asking for a recommendation letter shouldn’t be a problem. But if things were rocky or you left abruptly for whatever reason, they might not feel as comfortable vouching for you. Don’t be discouraged. You can still make it happen.

  • Timing is everything. When you announced your resignation, you probably delivered bad news. Your employer may be frantically worrying about how to replace you and hire someone else. Choose the right time to ask for a letter of reference. Give your manager time to digest the news of your departure – maybe a couple of days – before asking.
  • Approach the right person. If things didn’t end well between you and your immediate supervisor, ask someone else within the company for a recommendation letter; for instance, another manager with whom you worked on a project or assignment. Choosing the right person is critical because you want the letter to highlight your best qualities and greatest strengths. If you feel that no one else will offer a fair reference, ask the HR manager. They have records of your evaluations, reviews and other pertinent documents, so they may be able to write a stellar letter on your behalf.
  • Make it personal. Ask for a recommendation letter in person or by phone. You may be tempted to text or email, but that should be your last resort. Not only is it impersonal, but messages may be lost or deleted, or that email may end up in a spam folder.
  • Let them know you value their opinion. Even if you didn’t leave your last job on good terms, let your former employer know you are approaching them because you sincerely value their opinion. Use this opportunity to explain how much you learned and benefited by working for them. Your goal is to get a glowing letter that will increase your chances of finding a new job, so you may need to stroke some egos a bit.

As you navigate your job search, consider working with the PrideStaff Fresno team to make it as strategic, stress free and successful as possible. Contact us today to learn more.

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