letters of rec

New Year, New Networking: Letters of Rec are Making a Comeback

In Leadership Resources, Strategy Resources by Brandt A. HandleyLeave a Comment

Whether you’re hedging your bets in case of recession or you are in an industry that is likely to see some shrinkage in 2023 (e.g. tech) get those networks ready because letters of rec are making a comeback.

Someone on the Inside
Having someone on the inside has long been a staple of journalism and espionage, but more and more people are getting hired by having someone who already works at the company vouch for them or connect them directly to the hiring manager. Those personal endorsements or direct channels make seekers stand out amid a sea of applications, which can make all the difference. Letters of recommendation are one standard way to get that personal endorsement. 

If you find yourself in the position to look for a new job, there are a few rules of thumb that you need to keep in mind before you ask for a referral or letter of rec. First of all, be clear about what you’re asking for. Is it a letter of recommendation? Would you like someone to get your resume in the recruiter’s inbox? Or, do you need endorsements on LinkedIn?  Make sure it’s actually an ask–not a demand–with an easy out. Not everyone is comfortable recommending a friend or a past colleague, and you don’t want to damage that relationship by being pushy. They might know more about the position or company and why you won’t be a good fit, or perhaps they just aren’t comfortable recommending anyone. If they do give the green light, promptly send over everything they need, whether that’s your resume, a list of specific projects, skills, or stats about your work, or a letter they can simply forward.

Who to Ask and How to Connect
A friend can vouch for your character, not your work skills, but that may still be enough to make you stand out from the rest. In this case, it’s a favor you’re asking, so treat it as such.

If you’re not looking for a LOR so much as an in with a potential employer, LinkedIn is your friend. Connect with people who are from the company or better yet are on the team you’re hoping to join. If you’re feeling bold, send them a direct message to learn more about what it’s like to work at the company, or even ask to be connected with the hiring manager. Sometimes boldness can make all the difference!

If you’re an employer, this works, too! When you have an open position, ask your current employees for recommendations from both inside and outside the company. They know the culture and the skills required for the role, and can likely recommend someone who will fit both and be someone they want to work with.

Need help building that network or sifting through candidates and recommendations? ROI offers executive coaching and recruiting services and we’re happy to help


Leave a Comment