Looking for referees? Writing your reference letter

11 Aug 2021

In order to boost your chances of landing your dream job you may need one or two reference letters. Some jobs may indeed ask you for a few – the reasoning behind this is for the employer to ensure that the interviewee has been truthful in their job application and interview responses. However, it often happens that one panics when asked to provide refences – as who should you ask to be your referee? It has to be someone you trust, have a good relationship with and usually it tends to be someone from your former job. But what if you were self-employed or what if you’ve just graduated and had not had a job prior to the interview? Let’s check our options: 

Teacher or Lecturer

Send an email to a past teacher or a lecturer from your university to write a reference letter for you. Don’t be shy to ask for it – they’re likely to have written others before yours and you’re unlikely to be the only one asking for a reference letter. Make sure it’s a lecturer who knows who you are. Having a reference letter from such a person would be ideal as it would give the potential employer a professional and unbiased view. 


The positive about having a letter written by a colleague is that they know you as both a friend and as a worker. They’ve spent hours with you on a daily basis and know you thoroughly. Because they’re colleagues, the employer will value it more than they would of just a friend. Why should a colleague be a referee? They can talk about past experiences they’ve had working with you. In addition, they can discuss the qualities that you brought to the team – things to back up your CV. 

Family member

It sounds silly, doesn’t it? Well, it would work great if a family member can talk about you from a professional point-of-view. If you feel that listing your mother as a referee wouldn’t help your chances of getting the job, why not list someone who’s not your parents? Perhaps someone you’ve had to work with or spend a lot of time with. But keep in mind, employers are looking for a professional letter! 

Someone with authority 

In case you’ve no teachers or colleagues to write a reference letter for you and you can’t ask any family members for one – don’t worry. You can ask any authority figure from your past whom you trust. Make sure that this person can talk about your character as well as your professional self. 

Small tip: Whoever you’re asking to write a reference letter for you, be sure to thank them!