July 19, 2010 / 1:27 PM / 9 years ago

Management Tip of the Day: How to ask for a reference letter

Australian Tim Kelly holds an envelope from Britain's Queen Elizabeth in Sydney December 23, 2008. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

BOSTON (Reuters) - The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (www.hbr.org). Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

“Asking someone to take the time and energy to write down all the ways in which you’re great can feel like an inconvenience at best and a true imposition at worst. Here are three ways to ease the process and ensure your mentor, boss, or colleague writes a rave review:

1. Highlight her qualifications. Be clear about why you are asking this person for a reference and what uniquely qualifies her to speak on your behalf. This should be flattering and truthful.

2. Provide a draft. The only thing worse than asking for a reference letter is writing one. Make it easy on your mentor or boss by providing a draft. However, be sure that she knows that she doesn’t need to use it.

3. Give her an out. Be sure to allow your colleague a way to gracefully say no - for any reason. You aren’t likely to get a glowing review from someone who feels forced to write one.”

- Today’s Management Tip was adapted from “How to Ask for a Reference Letter” by Jodi Glickman Brown.

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