July 19, 2010 / 1:27 PM / in 7 years

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

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.

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

”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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