Skip to main content
Headshot

Stephen Kaita

Career Peer Educator

empty
a student is asking his professor/coach for advise
Credit
unsplash.com
Keep in contact with your references. Update them with your life, and ask how they are.

“Hi Coach, I was wondering if I could ask you a favour?”

“Sure”

“I’m applying for summer jobs, and I was wondering if I could use you as a reference?”

From a person who has gone from one job to another and one volunteer opportunity to the next, I’ve met people from various backgrounds. So trying to keep in touch can be hard, but is very easier to reestablish a meeting. However, people come and go, and as humans, we do forget people.

So, let’s get into why gathering references are very important. This is the reality. People forget people. Whether you have done a great job in your volunteer opportunity, your work can be forgotten within a matter of days, weeks, months and years. Keeping in contact with your references and asking for reference letters will provide physical evidence of what you have done, the skills you acquire and what makes you a great volunteer. Especially for volunteer opportunities, gathering references and reference letters is important. Sometimes, it will be the only thing you will have in order to apply to your next job or volunteer opportunity.

Engage

When gathering references, make sure you have a good impression. Especially when leaving a company or volunteer organization, keep in touch with your former colleagues. Sometimes, these people are willing to be your reference, and this becomes very important when searching for your next opportunity.

Amaze

Some of the people giving you the reference will give you a massive surprise. In one of my reference letters, I was very happy with some of the kind words my coach, supervisors and bosses have given to me. Yes, there is a generic way of writing a reference letter, but some of the keywords and phrases can make a huge impact on landing your next job and volunteer opportunity.

Relive

Have you ever heard of this statement? We relive experiences through writing. As a person who studies world literature and has taken classes in reflective practices, this is a true statement. Reliving experiences are great ways to understand yourself or another person. This is the basis of a reference letter. The employer or volunteer organizer is reading this letter to understand you, the candidate, and reliving your experiences through writing.

Remember, people appreciate volunteers, but humans forget people, and it’s in our nature to do so. Yes, we don’t do this intentionally; it just happens. So, remember to gather your references and ask for reference letters.

Final thoughts: Keep in contact with your references. Update them with your life, and ask how they are.  Make sure the contact information is updated. Maybe even set up a coffee chat. Nothing hurts with your references. Just always remember to thank them. 

About the Author

Headshot

Stephen Kaita

Career Peer Educator
Connect with Kaita on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Stephen Kaita is a Career Peer Educator and a second-year International Studies and World Literature student. He currently volunteers as a high school wrestling coach at the Langley United Wrestling Club and aspires to become a high school teacher or career advisor. As an aspiring teacher, he wants to focus on social issues in education and how to improve the well-being of a teacher. He has also previously volunteered as a teaching assistant.
Photo of the author giving a presentation
Creating Value: The Adventures of an IT Co-op Student

As someone who didn’t have a lot of direct experience in a technological setting, providing value to the organization had to come from something much bigger than my direct skill set.

A photo of the author
The 201st Application

It’s been two months and 20 days since my first day of my Co-op term at Westcoast Family Centres, but I still find myself waking up every other day in utter disbelief that things worked out!

You Might Like These... Prospective, Professional Development, Career Exploration

Co-op students jumping in the air
The Co-op Connection Helps Retention

In this blog post, Heather shares with us why co-op is an important experience for all students, whether it be to further career aspirations or to gain future employment opportunities. 

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

Hands holding a volunteer badge
Sana Siddiqui: Volunteerism Opens up Endless Possibilities | Part Two

She has been involved with SFU LEAD, Peer Programs and the SFU Muslim Students’ Association, just to name a few. Now, Sana Siddiqui, a Criminology student, reflects back and shares with us the invaluable academic, personal and professional skills and opportunities volunteering opened for her, read on to find out what she has to say about getting involved on campus and in the community.

You Might Like These... International

silhouette of person standing with suitcase, watching an airplane takeoff
Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad

Want to take time off to travel but don't want to delay your graduation date? Why not study abroad? Pamela shares 5 reasons why you should consider studying abroad.   

SFU graduation
Applying to Graduate School: A Students Guide

Someone once said that you should write about what you know. So when I was asked by one of the Peer Education Coordinators to write a career-related blog for their website, I felt compelled to write about the process of applying for graduate school, as I am currently applying for several schools myself.

Facebook app
Facebook and Your Co-op Term

The cold, hard fact is that Facebook may be putting your job at risk, and not just because you’re writing on your friends’ Walls when you should be working. This said, co-op students: please take heed of the following guidelines and maintain your all-important professional poise.