What is a professional reference (letter)?

Recently I’ve begun reaching out to colleagues for “professional references”, a concept that I’ve rarely had to engage with in my career. When I came upon it in my search for jobs, I decided to try to engage with it, and reciprocate in turn. And so I started doing research, and came up with a plan!

But then, after I asked some folks, I was told I could use them as professional references, rather than producing a document. And I was confused for a bit, but then researched some more with this new perspective, and I understand now that I was asking for a “professional reference letter”. Which is not something many companies or industries use anymore, since it’s fairly easy to email or call someone.

Here’s the rub: I need both! :slight_smile:

I look for jobs in academia (tech support or training at schools) and civic depts. (transportation, IT, etc.), and some of them require two professional reference letters (and a cover letter and a resume…).

Anyhow, thought I’d type this up for easy reference, in case I mess up my asks again. :grimacing:

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