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Author Topic: Asking for references - Heard back and have a new question  (Read 1587 times)

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Asking for references - Heard back and have a new question
« on: February 06, 2013, 07:10:11 PM »
I wanted the opinion of people who have actually gone through this before.

I have just gotten my Master's degree and am currently job hunting. 

My former supervisors/mentors wrote a reference for me for grad school.  For a while we kept in contact, but after some time the contact became repetitious and we just sort of stopped.

So now, about two years later, I'd like to ask my former supervisors to act as references for my job applications (I didn't work in school, so this was my most recent job), but I have had little to no contact with them in the past two years.

If someone you hadn't spoken to in a couple of years asked you to be a reference, would you be insulted?

Thanks for your advice!
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 05:00:23 PM by AylaM »


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Re: Asking for references
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 08:32:00 AM »
No, I would not be insulted. 

I'd probably be happy that you received your degree and that you remembered me. 

The only problem might be that, after two years, I may not remember your performance very well. 

Contacting your former employers is certainly worth a try.  The worst thing they can do is decline. 


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Re: Asking for references
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2013, 11:34:24 AM »
I've gone through something similar but not that exact scenario. I asked for LinkedIn recommendations from about 20 people about 4 years ago when 3 of my co-workers from my department were laid off & I was concerned I was next. I went all the way back 20 years in asking for recommendations. I must have left a good impression because people were quite obliging, whether it had been 5, 10, 15 or 20 years, they wrote very nice recommendations. I know that is not the exact same thing but thought I'd share. Apologies if I spoke out of turn.


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Re: Asking for references
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2013, 04:59:48 PM »
I got a positive reply back, and she cc'd another boss who also offered a reference (yay!)

As part of the company policy, they cannot give professional references.  Only personal references from people I knew professionally.  For that reason they would rather give a written summation (to prevent them from accidentally saying something that could get them fired).

How can I convey this to employers?  Some places have applications that have name and number spaces, where phone numbers are required.  And it would be preferable to contact them via e-mail. 

These are really the only "professional" references that I have, so I need to use them.  But I don't want them getting into trouble.

Any advice?

« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 05:25:13 PM by AylaM »


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Re: Asking for references - Heard back and have a new question
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2013, 05:52:34 PM »
Well, based upon my own experience, I would encourage you to go ahead and contact the person, tell him/her what you are doing and see how he/she responds.

A few years ago when I was doing a sort of sub-career change within a wider career field, I had plenty of recent references who could speak to my new skills, but I also wanted someone from the past who could say that I had been a hard worker in the past.  I called up a woman who had been my supervisor 15 years before.  We had the nicest 5 minute phone call and she told me she was pleased to have my prospective employers contact her.

(This was the type of job application where the new employer wanted names and telephone numbers of references then the new employer would contact the ones they were interested in contacting.  By contacting my old supervisor beforehand, I was able to gauge her reply.  She was so friendly and enthusiastic to me about the new sub-field I was moving to that I didn't hesitate to pass alongher name.  If she had sounded unsure or reserved, I would have thanked her but I wouldn't have used her name.)


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Re: Asking for references - Heard back and have a new question
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2013, 02:03:53 PM »
Make sure the person remembers you well enough to give you a good reference!
Some students I'll never forget. Others have faded into beigeness.
I've served as a reference checker in faculty job searches, and on more than one, the reference has admitted to not remembering the candidate all that well. In at least one case, we made an exception for the candidate; we shouldn't have. I don't know if the reference was trying to send us a 'don't hire' message by being so vague (without having to say anything directly damning) but having worked with this person, I have to say that she wasn't the sort of person who you would forget easily.  >:D