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Had a number of job offers some requesting none to a couple of job references. While 3 references from co-workers and customers are no problem, I am having difficulty getting a manager's reference.

I cannot use my current manager who gave me an Excellent rating. I cannot use my previous manager at my current company even though she gave me an Excellent rating. She left the company and agreed to give me a reference, but told me to notify her through her friend who works at the current company. I tried that but never heard back from my previous manager. I have no idea where she works and have searched for e-mail addresses and phone numbers without luck.

The manager on my previous job who gave me consistently good reviews (without anything written) has passed my reference request to the HR department who cannot comment on my performance. I have sent her a fax and used voicemail to try to get her to help out.

I always ask the manager when I leave a position if I can use them as a reference and they always agree. While it would be nice for me to continue to maintain contact, I don't know what I would talk about and don't feel it's necessary since they had agreed to help before.

I am very discouraged since if I were a manager and had a favorable impression of a person, I would do my best to help that person out. What do I do now?
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