There is nothing quite as humbling as asking for a reference. Especially with new hiring software programs that often require letters of reference to be uploaded with your application.
The easiest way to maintain references is to maintain contact. Send a Christmas or Holiday card or birthday note. E-mail occasionally. But even if you have done those things, I have found it is a good idea to send a note when your job search changes.
Something as simple as this generic note should give the reference enough notice that they aren’t surprised if they get a call:
I hope this note finds you well. I wanted to inquire if you are still willing to be a reference for me as I am exploring the possibility of relocating to a new state (OR STATE SEARCH PARAMETER CHANGE) and will be applying for jobs. I greatly enjoyed working with you at (DETAILS: time frame, anything to give reference about your working relationship or important projects you want them to remember). As many of the positions I am applying for require a letter of reference to be included with my application (in some cases uploaded to their web application system), I am hoping you might be willing to write a short letter of reference on my behalf and be available for a potential follow-up call.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if there is any information I can provide regarding my current or previous experience to assist you in giving me a reference. I can be reached at (e-mail) or (phone).
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Do you have a system for keeping in touch with references? What tips and advice do you have?