Is it acceptable to include the general letter of reference with my application even though no letter of reference is requested?
January 13, 2005 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Jobfilter. I am applying for a position for which I am qualified because of my education, but not my recent work experience. A few years ago I did volunteer work that is almost identical to what I would be doing in the position I am applying for. Is it acceptable to include the general letter of reference I have from the volunteer work with my application and resume, even though no letter of reference is required or mentioned in the ad? [more inside]

My last few years of work history have been in a different field, and I wanted to include the letter of reference to show that I have performed competently in this capacity in the past. However, some people have been telling me that including information not specifically requested can be seen as a failure to follow instructions and result in my application being discarded.

Anyone have any experience with this?
posted by Sheppagus to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Is it an application, or are you submitting a resume? If it is the latter I would include the volunteer work on the resume. Most resume books will tell you to include volunteer work if it is at all applicable.
I may be too idealistic, but I really can't see a company discarding an application that includes a letter of recommendation. They ask for references all the time, after all. Letters strike me as just taking that one step further. I would think discarding an application is more likely if too little information is included.

Personally, I always include my letters, simply because most states don't allow them to grill former employers about you, they're merely allowed to verify if you worked there when you claimed.
posted by Kellydamnit at 11:03 AM on January 13, 2005

I would definitely include it! You might explain a bit about your reasons for including it in your cover letter, and make sure to add your volunteer work to your resume as well. I can't see any reason doing these things would hurt your chances. Good luck!
posted by katie at 11:09 AM on January 13, 2005

Response by poster: It is for a state job, so there is an official state application that must be submitted. I was also going to include a resume, since it goes into more detail about my experience.

The volunteer work was for the same state agency, but in a different town, so I thought that including the letter of reference would clearly show that I can do, and have done, this job before.
posted by Sheppagus at 11:10 AM on January 13, 2005

i've seen (substantial) volunteer work listed under the heading 'positions of responsibility' on resumes. this allows applicants to give more details about their volunteer experiences than the one line typically allotted to a volunteer position on a resume. it's a nice middle ground between 'work experience' and 'volunteer positions' and, coupled with a reference letter, should indicate that you have both the experience and motiviation for the position.
posted by lumiere at 11:22 AM on January 13, 2005

If it was with the same state agency I would certainly include it. Heck, if you still know people there, it might be worth your while to give them a call and see if they know anyone in the location where you applied!
posted by Kellydamnit at 11:27 AM on January 13, 2005

I used to be a hiring manager for a state agency, and I received both the official application and any ancillary materials (resumes, letters of reference, etc.) that were submitted, all in one package, from the HR folks. Unless there's something that says "do not submit any material other than the application," you're in no sense not following instructions. I say you should include it.
posted by bac at 12:05 PM on January 13, 2005

You can include a letter of reference if you want. You can and certainly should include that work on your resume. In fact, since it's the most appropriate experience to the job you're going after and since it was a few years ago, I'd recommend formatting the resume you submit as a functional resume rather than as a chronologic resume so that you can further emphasize the relevant experience.
posted by willnot at 1:07 PM on January 13, 2005

Include it - it can't hurt and you definitely won't lose points.
posted by xammerboy at 7:45 AM on January 14, 2005

What xammerboy said, UNLESS (as happens in some cases) the job posting specifically instructs you not to include résumés or other supporting documentation besides the standard application.

And what willnot said, as well: there's no reason not to put volunteer work on your résumé if it's relevant to the job you're seeking.
posted by aberrant at 10:32 AM on January 14, 2005

« Older Using a USA bought Apple Powerbook in the UK   |   What is this rock? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.