How to ask for recommendations without a specific need?
January 27, 2009 10:26 AM   Subscribe

How do I ask for a recommendation from leaders in my community group if I don't have a specific need for one? (I am moving away and ending my membership in the group, but not currently job hunting.)

I was invited to join the board of directors of a community group back in August and have been very involved ever since, taking on a lot of work and responsibility and doing it well. I'm leaving the group at the end of this month because I'm leaving town in a few weeks, and then moving abroad this summer.

I know that the President and VP think I've made a very positive impact on the group and they would surely serve as positive references for me. However, I have no need for their references at the moment because I won't be job hunting for another year or two. (After I return from volunteering/working in another country.)

I think that the traits I've exhibited in my work for this group (leadership, organized, creative, thoughtful, more...) are talents that I want to specifically draw upon in my next job, much more so than what I utilize in my current job, which is a basic office admin role.

But I am afraid that by the time I'm job hunting again, they'll forget the details about what I did well. Things like "her even temper and thoughtful nature provided balance to our formerly chaotic meetings", or "she reorganized the PR committee, noticeably improving its operation." So I'd like to get something from them now that captures the details. (And a friend of mine even suggested that I do so, without my even mentioning it! So I think this is pretty important to do.)

I'm nervous asking for references in any situation, but I especially don't know what to do now since I don't have a specific need for one. What should I ask them for? Will they think I'm being unreasonable asking them for this?

thanks :)
posted by inatizzy to Work & Money (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You don't need to worry about this. It's common practice to ask for a general purpose letter of recommendation when leaving a situation. Most people maintain a file of sorts for this sort of thing. Just ask for a letter that would be useful for any opportunity and they shouldn't give you much of a problem about it.
posted by valkyryn at 1:24 PM on January 27, 2009

Best answer: There is nothing wrong with asking referees to specifically comment on certain areas and there is also nothing wrong with reminding a referee of acticities you were involved in, which relate to these areas when requesting a fact several weeks/months down the line they'll be grateful if you do as they will only remember you vividly if you made an extremely good/bad impression.

What I'd be more concerned about is you forgetting all the things you did if you're not going to be job hunting for a update your CV now, to help jog your memory.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:41 PM on January 27, 2009

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