Asking for job references can be a lot easier than you think
How do you ask a current or former employer for a job reference? Needless to say, asking for a work reference can be one of the most nerve-wrecking tasks you need to accomplish when applying for a new job – but not if you know how to do it right.
Compile your list early on. While prospective employers usually ask for job references during the latter part of the hiring process, identifying potential references before you even begin your job search can be a very wise move. So, make a list of all the people who can vouch for your skills, character and experience. Consider recent and former employers, supervisors and colleagues if you have been on the workforce for a while. If you are just starting out, you may ask if your professors and your community, religious or volunteer leaders would be willing to give you a job recommendation.
Choose the best. Choose someone who is familiar with your work and will speak highly of your abilities and your work ethics.
Reach out. After identifying who your prospective references are, ask them if they are willing to recommend you for the job. You can touch base by sending them an email or making a quick phone call. Remember, you don't want your prospective employers to catch them off-guard.
Use YouTube. If you want to go the extra mile to show your prospective references how much you want to get their endorsement, consider creating a short video that explains the details of your job search and why you need their recommendation. Upload it on YouTube, set it to private and send a short email with the link to your video to your prospective job references. This can definitely work in your favor.
Consider using LinkedIn. If you desperately need a recommendation but don't know how to approach your previous employers and/or colleagues, then ask if they can recommend you on LinkedIn instead.
Give them the freedom to say no. If your contacts don't seem enthusiastic about or comfortable with giving you a recommendation, then don't twist their arm just to get an endorsement. This wouldn't do you any good. Find someone else who would be willing to support your job search efforts.
Show your appreciation. Don't forget to thank your referals for helping you out. For all you know, their recommendations set you apart from the competition and helped you snag that job.