When leaving one job for another -- and leaving on good terms -- you might not be thinking about needing a reference letter. After all, you already landed the other job. This is, however, the best time to ask your manager for a reference letter. Photo via tribbles 1971.
It's a good idea to get a reference letter from your manager as soon after leaving a position as possible. Getting a reference letter right away makes it easier for your manager to recall specific contributions you made to the team. Even if you don't end up needing a reference right away, having the reference letter provides you with something to fall back on in the event you are unable to contact your former manager at a later time. Plus, if you decide to go back to the manager a year or more later to ask them to provide a phone reference, you can remind them about the reference letter they wrote for you.
Lifehacker commenters have previously mentioned trouble tracking down former managers who could vouch for them -- a real problem when you're applying to new jobs. That's why it's best to try to keep in touch with former bosses and co-workers. Either way, though, a written letter of recommendation now could help you greatly down the road.