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Old 07-31-2016, 04:33 PM
289 posts, read 412,298 times
Reputation: 335


I am applying to a few jobs in an industry that seems to frequently request letters of recommendation. This industry is similar to what I'm doing now, but not exactly the same. My current supervisor has offered to write me a letter, and I know her recommendation will hold the most weight since she has seen me doing tasks that are close to those of the positions I am applying for. However, my job history for the decade before my current one was in a completely different industry. Some previous supervisors have offered to write me letters as well, but since they observed me working in an industry with different tasks, would their recommendations still be worthwhile? If so, should their letters just focus on what I did in that industry, or should they try to specifically address how my skills would carry over to this new industry?
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Old 07-31-2016, 07:23 PM
10,591 posts, read 18,959,658 times
Reputation: 20810
If you were to pick one, you want a letter speaking about your ability now as opposed to ten years ago. How is your previous supervisor going to know how your skills will transfer to another industry? What transfers across all fields is attendance, punctuality, completing assigned tasks properly and on time, etc., etc. Those are the types of things your previous supervisors can talk about
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Old 08-01-2016, 06:45 AM
Location: HoCo, MD
4,990 posts, read 8,845,379 times
Reputation: 5791
Like networking, references are unfortunately not something you work on WHEN you need it. You need to have them lined up ahead of time. At this point, if past managers are your only choice, then that's really what you need to use (if you haven't considered - also look at colleagues, customers, vendors, etc. that you've had applicable/recent dealings with).

As for being from another industry - keep in mind that in many cases, references are used for skills and character/attitude. If the skills sets don't transfer, they can concentrate on your attitude (e.g. how you consistently go above and beyond).

As a manager, I personally look at attitude/character more than skills. You can always train skills.
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