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How to Ask an Old Professional Connection For a Reference

When searching for a new technology job, having a robust collection of references plays an essential role in earning a job offer. This approach gives you the option to choose a reference specifically for the open position you want. Maybe they served as your manager at a company using a similar technology stack as your potential new employer? 

So reach out to any professional connections you feel would be the perfect reference for a specific open IT job. If you haven’t had contact with that person in a few years, it helps to connect with them beforehand. As such, here is some advice on asking an old colleague for a professional reference.    

Always Make Professional Networking a Priority  

Some tech pros assume that networking is for meeting new people to potentially help further your career. Of course, that matters, but you also need to periodically reconnect with your previous managers and coworkers. While this effort normally isn’t a big priority for busy professionals, it makes things easier when searching for good references after applying for a new position. In short, don’t wait until beginning a job search to reach out to former colleagues. 

Send an Email Instead of a Text Message  

When reconnecting with an old work colleague to ask for a reference, consider sending an email to them instead of a text message. An email lets you go into more detail on the job opportunity and how you’re a good fit for the position. You are also able to provide updates on your career since the last time you worked with that person. 

Of course, this approach assumes you have the email address for that colleague. If not, reaching out over LinkedIn or another social media network makes sense. 

A Well-Crafted Email is a Must  

Take a thoughtful approach when writing an email to ask for a reference. The subject line matters; be creative so your email doesn’t end up getting ignored. If you haven’t connected in a while, acknowledge that fact in the introduction. Most importantly, writing a personalized email is essential. Don’t use a generic template, as you might not get the response you want. 

Be direct when asking for a reference. Show confidence in your chances at getting a job offer and ask about returning the favor if needed. Paying things forward is smart for your career growth. 

Partner With the Professionals

If you need advice on your next IT job search, speak with the expert recruiters at Technology Partners. As one of the top technical staffing agencies in St. Louis, we know the companies looking for talented professionals like you. Connect with us soon!