Testimonial from employer

Short letter with little content

Hi everyone,

I applied for a job with a german employer. He asked for a recommendation letter from my previous employer. So previous employer sent me this today :

"This is to certify that Ms .... was employed by.... from... to ...

During this period she has performed her duties satisfactorily."

I was very surprised by how short the letter is... but my parents confirmed that I won't get more as its normal to get such a letter in Mauritius... To be honnest I was not comfortable with submitting such a letter to a german employer. Any advise?


Why don't you write your own testimonial - as I have done twice - once in Germany, when the employer didn't do it fast enough for me - and once in the UK when I said it would be easier for the boss if I took the task off his hands as I knew what they would need in Germany.

What you need to do is include all the relevant information - dates, job titles, responsibilities and duties and include the phrase. Ms/Mr First name Surname completed all his/her work to our complete satisfaction".
Nina, the former employer does not want me to write it and will not write more unless asked by the potential employer... complicated I know! Problem is how do I explain this to the potential employer.
Then you have to explain it in English or in German.

Different countries, different way of doing things. You've explained it here, so explain it to the person in the office.

It's the same in the UK. You don't get a reference when you leave a job there. Whenever you apply for a job, the company you're applying to has to write to the former employers. It's a pain in the neck.

I would write a neutral reference. Don't exaggerate. Mine just outlines my job and has 'to our complete satisfaction' at the end and that's it.

Write it, submit it to the former employer, ask them to consider it because this way, the personnel manager will not have to write a new reference every time you apply for a job in the coming years.

if he is still stubborn, then you just have to tell the new potential employer that he or she will have to apply for a reference as this is the way it is done in Mauritius and the former employer insists on this procedure being adhered to.
Ok thanks for the advise Nina.
Are you from Mauritius? One of my best friends at university in Manchester was a young woman from Rose Hill studying pharmacy.
Seriously? Yes I was born in Rose Hill actually! Send me a pm we can discuss. I might know her. Mauritius is small ;-)
My understandiing is that in the UK (and I believe in the US as well), about the only thing the employer may do is confirm that you were employed and the title you were employed as.

I'm pretty sure employers are not even allowed to discuss the circumstances of your leaving the company - unless it was a result of a crime for which you were prosecuted in the civil courts.
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