Most jobs today are going to come from connections and networking; who you know really does matter. However, that does not mean you do not have a shot at an open position, and that is where recommendations come in handy. Specifically, timely and relevant recommendation.
I cannot count the number of times I have been asked to write a letter of reference, and my rules on this are simple:
1. Please give me a template on what they are looking for so I can properly frame the recommendation
2. Try and avoid asking me for a last-minute letter of references/recommendations
3. If I say yes, I will do it almost immediately.
The last part is important because someone’s application could be getting held up because of that one letter of reference, especially when computers are tallying up everything nowadays. Having experienced that particular phenomenon, I can tell you it is not a pleasant feeling when someone flakes on their promise of a letter of reference. Worse still, you write someone a letter of reference or recommendation with the understanding they will do the same for you; and they never do.
Do what you say you are going to do, and do it in a timely manner because a person’s job could be on the line. It is simple professionalism.
Lessons from a communication and human resources class.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III