Write a job reference yourself: good is often not good enough

Writing a reference - this is how it works

New boss or too little time – there are many reasons why you as an employee are asked to write your job reference yourself. Easier said than done: From the correct structure to secret codes in the wording to a realistic self-assessment, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind.

Formulating a reference yourself: Opportunity and curse at the same time

If you’re job hunting, your documents should be complete. This also includes a qualified reference. But what do you have to keep in mind if your boss asks you to write your own reference??

If you take the writing of your reference into your own hands, this is your unique opportunity to shine with your reference with your next employer. Writing your own reference is time-consuming, but it also offers the advantage of being able to present your own To work out strengths purposefully.

However says A reference and its secret clauses more about you than you might think. Therefore, do your own writing with care and a little research. We show you how.

Many professional years briefly summarized

Before you start writing your own praise letter and start thinking about individual phrases, you should Structure your evaluation: You have worked in a company for several years, performed many tasks and taken on more and more responsibility. Describing to the point what you have achieved is not so easy.

The secret is a solid scheme: While the content changes from candidate to candidate, the structure always remains the same. Therefore, proceed as follows when writing your job reference:

  • Introduction: State your full name, your date of birth and the exact period during which you worked at the company in question.
  • Job history and duties: List all the positions you held during this time and what activities you performed in them – for example, with bullet points.
  • Performance and social behavior: This is the part that makes your appraisal a qualified job reference. Mention, for example, your commitment and flexibility in the company. Possibly you distinguish yourself particularly by your organizational talent or your fast apprehension ability. You know from your colleagues that you are considered very loyal and cooperative – you should also write this in your reference. Be sure to document each of these points with examples and limit yourself only to the really relevant characteristics.
  • Reason for your exit: If you have resigned yourself, mention that the employment relationship was terminated at your own request. In the case of a termination agreement or a settlement, the formula is "the employment relationship ends by mutual (best) agreement". If your employer has given you notice of termination, the reference should only state when the employment relationship ends.
  • closing formula and wishes for the future: At the end of the reference, it is customary to express regret that the employee is leaving the company and to wish him or her all the best for the future.
  • Date and signature: If you write your reference yourself, conclude by putting the respective date and a line for your employer’s signature below it. Complement his name with his title.

Writing your own reference – cracking secret codes

After you have clearly structured your appraisal, it is time for the wording. But beware: What may seem obvious to you at first sound positive, can for a trained personnel manager mean the opposite.

An example of how important it is to decipher these codes can be seen in this wording:

He completed the tasks assigned to him to our complete satisfaction.

Sounds good? For each personnel manager your behavior corresponds to just the school mark three and is therefore only satisfactory. Small gradations such as "fully", "most fully" or "always most fully" decide on your impression with your new employer and thus about your professional future.

Therefore, inform yourself in advance exactly about the grading system and the hidden clauses before you write your job reference yourself.

Individuality is decisive: Who am I and what can I do??

One praise after the other could earn you further minus points with personnel managers: If one "very good" module follows the next, it becomes clear at this point at the latest that you have written your own reference.

Therefore, job reference generators should be used with caution: They provide you with an initial, important framework for your draft. However, the individual building blocks are recognized as such by personnel experts – and you are thus unmasked.

In the case of the employer’s reference Individuality is decisive. Go for individualized wording that fits you and your job duties and highlights what you personally accomplished. This is what your reference does unique, authentic and credible.

Limit yourself to the essentials: It seems untrustworthy if you emphasize and praise self-evident qualities such as punctuality or flexibility.

These skills are assumed by you as an employee and therefore do not need to be emphasized extra. Concentrate rather on what makes you, on Your talents and positive qualities. Put them in the foreground by rating them particularly well.

Conclusion: Structure, choice of words, spelling, grammar – if you write your job reference yourself, you have to pay attention to a lot of things. If you dare to do this, nothing will stand in the way of your own positive assessment.

However, if mistakes creep in – no matter how small they are – this can have a major impact on your career opportunities. Weigh therefore well, Before you take the helm or the pen in your own hand.

Benefit from the know-how of Robert Half’s personnel consultants when changing jobs. Learn more now!

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