Here's a scenario running through my head:

I'm going to ask my boss for a well-deserved raise. If I don't get it, that's totally fine; the company should do what's best for itself. But that means I'm off to bigger and better things. How exactly can I expect to get not get a raise... but also ask for a recommendation letter for my next job? What motivates my boss to write one? "Please help me get hired somewhere that is not here." How do I approach this process?

  • Are you asking how to approach your boss to refer you to other organizations? Dec 12, 2019 at 12:58
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    A letter of recommendation? Are you applying to Grad school? Is this in India? In my area, most reference checks do not require a letter of recommendation, just a phone number. Dec 12, 2019 at 17:16

2 Answers 2


Clarification: depending on your location, rules and laws regarding recommendation letters and references might vary. Make sure you check in your jurisdiction how this works.

I think you're overthinking this. They are almost completely unrelated things. There are various reasons why they wouldn't give you a raise, but from not giving you a raise to not providing a reference to a future employer there's a huge gap.

Go and ask for a raise, always justifying why you deserve the raise and not why you want it. If you don't get the answer you expect, start looking for a new role. When it's time for your new employer to check your references, ask your manager if they would be happy to provide one.

As you can see in my answer, I considered a recommendation letter and a reference check similar in this context. If, for some reason, in your particular industry or location you need recommendation letters to apply for a new job, let me know and I'll update my answer.

  • Good plan, don't have to ask for the letter the same instant I quit. Also, if he does write one, I'll send him a gift basket.
    – Rekkah
    Dec 12, 2019 at 11:37
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    @ThomasKagan Also, if he does write one, I'll send him a gift basket don't even think about this and don;t mention that to anyone else. References are supposed to be unbiased and honest. Dec 12, 2019 at 12:57

Never ask for a reference letter from your current employer, since that's the same as telling them that you're looking for a new job.

Ask them for a reference letter after you're officially not there any more, and use that reference letter in your subsequent job searches in the future.

For reference letters for the current job search, ask the previous employer and those before that.

This is in line with the standard rule of thumb that one should not quit his job until after he finds a new one.

  • How exactly does this logically work for someone applying for their second job ever?
    – DariM
    Dec 12, 2019 at 22:29
  • @DariM - Show them your grades from university, and also they should test your skills (technical skills or whatever is appropriate for the type of job) in practice. And you can simply say to the second (potential) employer, on the interview that you can't ask the current employer for a reference since it would be like telling them that you're leaving. I did that a number of times myself. If they're reasonable, they'll understand. If they aren't reasonable, then you don't want to work for them anyway. Dec 13, 2019 at 15:08
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    @DariM - Another possibility, which happened to me once, is that the prospective employer accepts that I can't give them a reference from the current employer before I leave, but asks that I obtain that reference and give it to them after I start work for them. In that case, if I did not get the reference within a month after the start of the new job, or if the reference was bad, I would have failed the probation period. Dec 13, 2019 at 15:17
  • I think those alternatives belong in the answer, especially since it's entirely plausible that no matter what, a person may have to explain WHY they don't have a reference from their current employer. Otherwise, it leaves fairly big gaps as a "rule" to follow, which would be even more suspicious if, say, the previous employer was a long time ago, or irrelevant to a person's current field of work.
    – DariM
    Dec 15, 2019 at 20:41

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