Key Parts of Writing Great Follow-up Email to References

References are an important part of any job search. Following up with your references can make or mar your chances of getting the job. Your reference is someone who knows you well.

Such a person will give you an honest, realistic perspective on what you’ve been up to. That said, following up with these references should be treated with seriousness.

To help out, this article explains how to write a good follow up email for reference. It also provides sample follow up emails. 

How to Write a Good Follow up Email for Reference

References are important in job searches and academia. Potential employers want to ascertain that you are of good character. Usually, your reference is meant to speak in glowing terms about your ability.

Thus, it is best to include people willing to go all out in recommending you. You might have to remind them if you didn’t hear anything from your reference. We will explain how to do this in this part of the article.

Be Polite

When writing a follow-up email for reference, be sure to sound as polite as possible. You want to sound humble and friendly to the person who is to write you a recommendation letter.

Express Gratitude

This person is putting in a good word for you. You shouldn’t forget to thank them. Express your gratitude to them for taking the time to write you a recommendation letter.

Ask About Their Well-Being

Your focus shouldn’t only be on yourself. Your reference has needs too. Be sure to ask about their well-being and work. You can go a step further by offering to help out if needed.

With these three factors, you’re on your way to creating a good follow up email for reference. Remember also to keep the email short and straight to the point too.

Avoid adding unnecessary information to the message. Although you may know the person on a personal level, you should still be professional. Don’t get too comfortable. 

Templates for Follow up Emails for Reference

smartphone screen showing facebook application
Photo by Justin Morgan on Unsplash

This section shows you what a good follow-up email for reference should look like. We have a few templates for you to consider.

Template 1

Dear [Insert name], 

I appreciate your help with my job search. Also, I appreciate your taking the time to write me a reference letter/recommendation. Hope all is well with your family. 

I just wanted to remind you that I’m still waiting to hear back from a few companies. So, if you could keep my reference letter on file for a little while longer, I would really appreciate it. Thank you again for your help and generosity. 


[Your name]

Template 2

Hello John, 

Thanks for meeting me yesterday. I really appreciate your guidance and support. Hope you are doing well today. 

I’ll like to remind you that I am still in need of a recommendation letter for my graduate school application. I’d be grateful if you could provide me with a letter of recommendation. Thank you again for your time and consideration.


[Your name]

Template 3

Hello [Insert name], 

I hope this email finds you well. I am reaching out and say thank you for agreeing to be a reference for me. I’m really grateful for that. 

I know you’re probably busy, so I’ll just remind you that I’m still waiting on the reference letter. If there is anything I can do to speed things up, please let me know. 

Again, thanks so much for your help. I really appreciate it. 

Take care, 

[Your Name]


Learning how to follow up with references is a critical aspect of networking. It is important to remember to be courteous, thank the person for their time, and inquire about their well-being.

If you want to put your best foot forward, make sure you stick to an outline to maintain a professional and straightforward tone.

If you’re finding it hard to write one, you should consider using the Hey INK tool. It allows you to create different types of content by entering your instructions and providing a bit of context — no hassle!

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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