I am currently in the middle of my immigration application, and I need employment reference letters from all my previous employers.

I worked at a job for 20 months. It's been 5 years since I left. I have contacted my ex-supervisor and he has agreed to provide me with a reference letter. He also asked me to prepare a draft of the letter and to email it to him.

This letter will basically list all my duties and responsibilities in that job. But for immigration purposes, the duties I performed in the job need to match 60-70% of the duties listed under the job classification that I am using for my permanent residence application. While this job matches almost perfectly with the job classification that I am using, I still did have to tailor it a little bit to include certain phrases and technical terms.

How do I tactfully ask my ex-supervisor to approve the reference letter that I have drafted and not to change anything in the main body? Note that I have not written anything that I haven't actually done at the job. But I am not very confident with him since it's been a while and I haven't stayed in touch.

Here is what I thought I'd email him:

One important consideration is that the wording of the letter and my duties need to somewhat match the listed job duties of the job classification that I am using for my PR application. I have tailored my duties a bit (with certain phrases and technical terms) so that they are aligned with the requirements.

Unless you find something that you disagree with, I'd prefer if you didn't change any of the three bullet points. And let me know if you have questions or comments - I know it's been a while since that job, but I think I have most of my work from then and I can answer any questions you might have.

I have a feeling that the last two lines - while they reflect what I truly want - sound kind of rude. I want to state this in a positive and polite way.

  • 5
    I would simply explain to him why it is important not to change it, just as you have explained here. Any other made-up reason will seem suspicious, in my opinion Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 11:11
  • @mattfreake How would you phrase the last two lines? See edit.
    – AIQ
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 11:20
  • 9
    The supervisor has already asked you to draft the reference, so he's obviously not particularly concerned about putting things in his own words. Just be frank with him - immigration rules require you to be explicit about certain things, so you've tailored the wording to those requirements to ensure all criteria are addressed. Unless he's dull as dishwater, he's going to understand that wording which has been tailored to a purpose cannot be freely changed.
    – Steve
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 11:54
  • 1
    @AIQ I think you've phrased those lines fine Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 18:03
  • please don't cross-post: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/27305/… "Cross-posting is frowned upon as it leads to fragmented answers splattered all over the network..."
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


"politeness" depends a lot on cultural context and norms. For example, it think that would be fine in Germany but could be "fluffier" in the US.

In the US I would use

Unless you find something that you disagree with, It would be great if you didn't change any of the three bullet points. I'd be happy to answer any questions and concerns you may have around this, I want to make sure you are 100% comfortable with the wording.
I know it's been a while since we worked together and I really appreciated your help in this matter.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .