Sooner is better for references – Metro US

Sooner is better for references

Q: Hi Jill, I love your stuff and I’m confident you can help guide me on this one. I want to apply for an internal job within my company. I told my direct supervisor about my intentions. Now, they want to know everything about every job I’m applying for. Do I really have to provide this information?

A: Informing your current employer that you are job seeking, especially if it’s an external job, is tricky because often this lends the impression that you are not satisfied where you are. Furthermore, this can give an employer ammunition to say goodbye to you first! While you are not legally held to informing them that you are job hunting, it is certainly advisable to give your two weeks notice — minimum — once you’ve accepted a job offer.

As for internal jobs, it becomes even more important to maintain good relationships because your current boss’ reference could help decide whether or not you get this new position. Plus, if you do get the new job, you’re likely to still be running into one another.

Now that your boss is requesting frequent updates about your job hunt, you might have to play along until you decide to take an offer. This will likely be frustrating on your end, but not adhering might make your final days there a bit hostile.

In the future, I’d advise you do your search privately and only inform your employer when a change is highly likely or confirmed.

Q: Hi Jill, I left a job about four months ago and I’m wondering if it’s too late to request a testimonial letter.

A: Depending on how long you were with the company and assuming you had a close working relationship with the person you would like to get the reference from, you might still be in luck. A good reference letter should not be generic. It has to be personalized and should highlight their confidence in your skills, work ethic and personality — that can’t happen if they don’t remember you. Next time request your letter before you depart or at least no later than a month afterwards.


Jill Andrew CYW, BA (Hons.), BEd, MA ‘08 is an award-winning journalist and educator with additional expertise in the performing arts, public speaking, PR, media literacy/awareness, fundraising and entrepreneurship.


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Jill’s tip of the week
  • Leaving a job doesn’t mean leaving your network of contacts behind. Make an effort to keep in touch with all the people in your network because you never know what tomorrow holds. Where there is genuine camaraderie there is often a sincere desire to help.

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