I work for several staffing/marketing agencies where I go to different retail stores to promote different products. One agency I have worked with for a while and have good report with them.

A few months ago, there was a bit of an exception where things didn't go smoothly and there was a bit of a miscommunication. Essentially one manager said I wasn't going to have a contract renewed, so I found other work, but then they really badly needed me back so I agreed to work a modified schedule.

Anyway, the details of the story aren't the important part. A new contract recently came up which I would really like (and am qualified for). I would like to contact the manager I had worked with previously and ask if she could put in a good word for me. I would like to point out the fact that I had helped them out in the past by effectively working 2 full time jobs when they couldn't fill the contract renewal with a different person.

How can I phrase such a request? I don't want to come off as sounding like I'm threatening them.

Something like

Hi Manager,

I worked with you on project X and I have just applied for project Y. Given how I agreed to project X on inconvenient terms to get it back on track, I would really like to be hired for project Y.

  • best to ask personal favours in person... this isn't a professional favour – Kilisi Oct 11 at 0:46
  • I didn't even know there are such things as "professional" favours. There are contracts, there are agreements, but favours? – Nelson Oct 11 at 0:51
  • 1
    Are you asking for a favor, a recommendation, or a reference? Your question says favor, but it seems like you're wanting either a recommendation or reference. That clarification will get better answers. – psaxton Oct 11 at 2:51
  • 1
    @psaxton you're right, 'reference' would probably be better word. – Bertelem Oct 11 at 5:00
  • I guess my question is, should I explicitly remind the manager about how I agreed to take their last contract even when it was very inconvenient for me, and I want this one since I made an exception for them last time? – Bertelem Oct 11 at 5:02

As @Kilisi said, I would rather ask your manager in person. Try something like

Hi. I am looking for referees for a job I'm applying for, since we did a good job together even thought the context was hard, I was hoping you could provide a reference ?


Don't talk like "I did a favour to you, now do the same for me" or he/she won't provide a reference (or not a good one...). If I'm the one asked for reference for a applicant (it has happened before), I say the truth. And the truth is, if you ask me a favour this way, I'll think you're not a nice person to work with.

  • 1
    Second time in a few days I've been writing an answer at the same time as someone else with similar thoughts. Have a vote for the suggested wording. – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Oct 11 at 8:01
  • What difference is asking in person than on the phone? – Bertelem Oct 11 at 23:46
  • On the phone, it should be OK, but if you can, talking to him/her in person will show respect, and you will be able to adapt your speech to his/her non-verbal reactions. But avoid to contact the manager by mail or by writing. – LP154 Oct 12 at 7:26

Either they remember that you went the extra mile for them (in which case reminding them is unnecessary) or they don't, and reminding them could come across as odd.

By all means contact the manager, but I would be inclined to emphasise why you would be a good choice for the new role rather than referring to past contributions. If they're hoping you'll go the extra mile in the new job, making the point that this was exceptional and inconvenient for you could weaken your position.

Referring positively to the work on project X will be to your credit - and will remind them of the effort you put into it without specifically telling them.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.