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Asked by Abbi on September 9, 2017

How many "degrees of separation" is it appropriate to claim a connection, use someone as an employee reference, or ask for someone to hand in a resume in for you?

Answered by Phil, Hiring Expert at Merck & Co., Inc., on September 13, 2017

Hi there - I don't know that there is necessarily a "formula" or a set number in terms of from whom you can ask for a reference. In my mind, the biggest things are to make sure that whomever you ask is aware of the request and aware of the role(s) that you are using them as a reference for, and choosing someone who is able to speak to your experiences, personality, and work ethic. I always recommend networking during an internship or a co-op experience as much as possible, because those folks will be the most likely to be able to give you an outstanding reference or letter of recommendation. Keeping those relationships warm after you leave will make the process of asking for a recommendation or reference much less awkward in the future. Best of luck! -Phil

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