Saturday, May 18, 2024
spot_imgspot_imgspot_img
HomeEducationHow to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation (With Examples)

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation (With Examples)

Many may not know how to ask for a letter of recommendation since it can be difficult sometimes. Especially if theyre not sure how to ask or who to ask.

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation
How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

However, letters of recommendation are important for your future academic or professional pursuits. They provide third-party validation of your skills, character, and work ethic and can help you stand out from other applicants.

Whether you are a high school senior applying to college or a graduate student looking for employment, the following guidelines will help you successfully request a letter of recommendation.

Related: How to Write a Motivation Letter for Scholarships

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

When requesting a letter of recommendation, there are certain things you shouldn’t overlook. However, no stated rules specify what to do and what not to do. These guidelines should help you make the right choice when requesting a letter of recommendation. 

1. Choose the Right Person to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

The first step in requesting a letter of recommendation is to choose the right person. The ideal person to ask is someone who knows you well, has worked with you directly, and can speak positively about your abilities and character. 

This could be a teacher, employer, or mentor. You can even ask for a letter of recommendation from your professor.  Choosing someone with credibility and legitimacy in their field or industry is important.

Remember that not all letters of recommendation are created equal – if you’re applying to a specific program or job, it may be wise to choose someone with experience in that field.

For example, if you’re applying to medical school, you may want to ask a professor who has taught biology or someone you’ve shadowed at a clinic. This will lend weight to their testimonial.

Read: HR Generalist: Job Description, Skills Needed, Salary Description

2. Ask in Person for a Letter of Recommendation

Once you have identified the right person to ask, scheduling a meeting in person is important. Asking for a letter of recommendation should not be done through email or text. Request a meeting in advance, and ensure you provide ample notice with the opportunity for the person to decline if they cannot commit to such a request.

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation
How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

At the meeting, explain why you are asking for a letter of recommendation and how the letter will be used. Give details of the program, job, or scholarship to which you’re applying, the deadline, and any specific requirements or preferences for the letter.

Many recommenders will expect you to have a conversation about why you are pursuing the opportunity and how they can support your application.

When asking in person, you’ll have an opportunity to gauge their reaction and ensure they’re on board with the process.

READ ALSO: How to Write a Formal Letter

3. Provide Information to Help Them Write the Letter of Recommendation

The person you ask will undoubtedly have a busy schedule and likely other letters of recommendation already started or due. Make their work a little bit easier by providing information that could generate ideas about what they could include in the letter.

Provide them with a copy of your resume or CV, highlighting your academic and professional achievements so far. This will allow them to get a clearer picture of your accomplishments and, if they haven’t worked with or taught you in the recent past, any notable accolades or milestones they should mention or build upon.

You should also consider preparing a short summary or bullet-pointed list of the points or qualities you would like mentioned in the letter. Use examples and anecdotes from your work together, and highlight any specific qualities or skills that are particularly relevant to the opportunity or industry.

It’s also important to provide them with clear instructions for the submission of the letter. This includes the institution or organization to which the letter must be sent, the required format (i.e. email or postal mail), and the deadline. A polite follow-up email or message a few days before the deadline can help ensure that they don’t forget to send it in.

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation
How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

It’s important to remember that the letter of recommendation should be unique to you and should not be a rehash of a generic template filled with buzzwords or adjectives.

4. Give Them Ample Time to Complete It

Requesting a letter of recommendation is a significant request and should be done with adequate lead time. Respect your recommender’s time by giving them plenty of notice; around 4-6 weeks is often recommended. This allows them the ability to incorporate it into their own schedule and write thoughtful and well-crafted letters.

It’s also important to factor in the time it takes to follow up on their behalf, particularly if there’s no system in place for automated follow-up emails like universities or portals may have.

If possible, ask for a tentative date of completion or a confirmation that the letter has been sent so that you can follow up with the recipient, avoid anxiety, and plan in advance for any subsequent applications.

5.  Thank Your Letter Writer

Finally, always thank your letter writer for their time and effort in writing a letter of recommendation. This shows you appreciate their support and value their role in your future success.

Consider sending a handwritten thank-you letter, not an email or a small gift, as a gesture of gratitude. This small gesture can go a long way in showing your appreciation and building a positive relationship with your letter writer.

Related: Letter of Permission To Be Absent from Work

How to ask for a Letter of Recommendation from a Professor

Requesting a letter of recommendation from a professor can be daunting, but it’s an important step in your academic and professional journey. Here are some tips on how to request a letter of recommendation from a professor:

1. Choose the right professor: 

Pick a professor who knows you well and can speak to your academic abilities and achievements. Ideally, this would be a professor who taught you in a course related to your field of study.

2. Ask in advance:

 Request a letter of recommendation at least a month before the deadline. Professors have busy schedules and may need time to write thoughtful, personalized letters.

3. Make a formal request: 

Send an email or schedule an appointment to ask the professor if they would be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you. Be clear about the purpose of the letter and provide information about the program or opportunity you’re applying for.

4. Provide supporting materials:

 Give the professor all the information they need to write a strong letter, such as your resume, transcripts, personal statement, and any other relevant materials.

Related: How to Reply to a Query Letter

How to ask for a Letter of Recommendation in Person

Once you have identified the right person to help with your letter of recommendation, it is best to ask in person for a letter of recommendation in person. Emails or text messages can come across as impersonal, and it may be harder to convey your enthusiasm or gratitude without being face-to-face.

Schedule a meeting with your potential letter writer and come prepared with a list of your accomplishments and goals. Be clear about what you’re applying for and why you think they’d be a good fit to provide a letter of recommendation.

Related: Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset: Which Do You Need More?

How to ask for a letter of recommendation from your Employer

Requesting a letter of recommendation from your present employer can be a sensitive issue, depending on the purpose of the recommendation.

Your supervisor will likely consent if it is for a non-work related opportunity like a volunteer position or a competitive housing opportunity. However, they may hesitate to write a letter if you intend to switch jobs. 

In any case, when requesting a recommendation letter, make sure to provide your boss with a clear explanation of the reason for the letter, including the type of opportunity you’re applying for, your goals, and any necessary details.

Related: How To Set Achievable Goals

How to ask for a letter of recommendation via email sample request

Dear Ms./Mr. [Recommender Name], 

I hope this message finds you well. I’m in the process of applying to [school, company name or program] and want to ask if you feel comfortable writing a strong letter of recommendation on my behalf. 

I’ll be glad if you can do this for me, and I understand if you are not disposed to do this. 

Thank you,

(Your name)

READ ALSO: How Much Horsepower Does a Horse Have?

How to ask for a letter of recommendation Template.

Dear  [Name]:

My name is [Your Name]. I took your [name of the class and when you took it]. I’m applying to [name of school and program], and I would appreciate it if you could write a letter of recommendation for me.

If it’s okay, I’m happy to meet with you at your convenience to discuss the details and provide you with a copy of my current (resume/CV/highlight sheet) and anything else you may need.

However, I completely understand if you can’t write a recommendation letter for me. Please do not feel obligated to me.

Thank you,

[Your Name]

Related: 20+ Pet Peeves That Make You Want To Break Something

Things to Avoid When Asking for a Recommendation Letter

  • Never ask for a recommendation letter when the submission date is almost due. It may serve as a sign of disrespect.
  • It is wrong to ask a family member to write you a letter of recommendation. Even if they are your colleague, doing that will be unprofessional.
  • A letter of recommendation should be written off of will, so do not feel upset if the person you’ve asked to write the recommendation letter declines.
  • Except you’ve worked with someone before in the past. It is wrong to ask a stranger or someone you’ve not worked closely with to write you a letter of recommendation.

Related: Types of Bosses in the Nigerian Workspace

FAQs On How To Ask For A Letter Of Recommendation

How do you politely ask for a letter of recommendation from a professor?

Ensure to ask your professor formally (via email or in person) if he or she would be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you.  Let them know why you chose them for this task.  Give your professor some time to think about your request.

Can I ask for a letter of recommendation by email?

Yes, you can. Just follow the procedure listed in this article and ensure to add enough details about yourself in the mail.

How do you ask your boss to write you a letter of recommendation?

This may be the most difficult task especially if the letter is meant for a new job. But ensure you speak politely to your employer when making this request.

How do you ask for an informal recommendation?

This may be the most difficult task especially if the letter is meant for a new job. But ensure you speak politely to your employer when making this request.

Asking for a letter of recommendation can be intimidating, but it is an important part of applying for jobs, scholarships, or graduate programs. By following these tips and choosing the right person to write your letter to, you can ensure that your application stands out and highlights your strengths and accomplishments.

Remember to thank your letter writer and follow up with anything they may need along the way. With these things in mind, you will surely get a strong letter of recommendation to help you achieve your goals.

Esther Gad
Esther Gad
I am a freelance writer, who loves to convey information through written contents. I build simple and conversational content tailored to the specific audience which can help industries build customer trust and in long term increase sales
RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -spot_imgspot_imgspot_imgspot_img

Most Popular