Summary: Find out how to leverage your letters of recommendation and work experience into a job offer in your desired field.
Question: I’m an undergraduate in my second year. Though I have held a few positions at law offices and with stockbrokers, I’m still looking for my first real job or internship in the consulting or financial services fields. How important are letters of recommendation and how can I use my work experience to my advantage?
Answer: Letters of recommendation or personal endorsements in response to reference checks can turn the tide in a job candidate’s favor. Particularly if the candidate is trying to move into a new field or is up against tough competition, a glowing recommendation can serve as the tiebreaker. Applicants generally offer reference letters later in the process, but if yours are particularly strong, you may wish to present them early on to avoid being removed from consideration during the early stages.
Use your work experience to your advantage by highlighting the learning that resulted from each position and the office savvy you acquired. Your ability to work in fast-paced environments with diverse clientele should be of particular interest in the consulting and financial services industries. In your initial contact with potential employers, speak directly to your passionate pursuit of a position in the industry. The specificity of your goal will impress employers in your target fields and strengthen your position.
- See How to Choose Your References for more information.
The Importance of Letters of Recommendation to Getting an Offer by Andrew Ostler