How to Ask for a Recommendation Letter and Why You Need One

Posted: April 18, 2023 | Author: Clare-Estelle Perkins | Read Time: 3 minutes

How to ask for a recommendation letterA letter of recommendation may look like just another little step in your job or college application process, but in reality, it could be the deciding factor for your credibility. Don’t look over it and get yours as soon as possible.

What is a Letter of Recommendation?

A letter of recommendation is essentially someone's assessment of you and your potential. A writer lists your strengths and weaknesses so a potential employer or college/institution can have an idea of you and whether or not they want to admit you to their team.

Why are Letters of Recommendation Important?

Letters of recommendation are used for all sorts of professional advancement. Whether you are applying to a school, a new job, or a career position, letters of recommendation provide valuable information that may not be obvious from your application alone. That is why getting quality letters of recommendation is so important.

How to Ask for a Recommendation Letter

Requesting a letter of recommendation can be an uncomfortable thing. You are asking a person of authority to write a good review of you. You want to ask someone who you have a positive relationship with, someone who may also be invested in your success. This ensures that you will more likely be painted in a good light. You can request a letter of recommendation from a teacher, a coach, a previous employer, or an ecclesiastical endorser.

Here are some tips for requesting a letter of recommendation:

  1. Be straightforward. This is not a time to beat around the bush; that may only make it more uncomfortable. Tell them you need a professional letter of recommendation for your application and that you would be grateful if they wrote you one.
  2. Let the person know why you are requesting this recommendation from them. For example, maybe you look up to them or you value their professional opinion.
  3. Provide all the information. Explain the details of the application and be sure to clarify the deadlines to your writer. That being said, make sure to give them a generous amount of time before the deadline. Sometimes professionals are extremely busy so you may have to remind them. It is also a good idea to reach out to more recommenders just in case someone does not respond in time.
  4. Try to include mentionable instances or talking points. Make an example of a work experience/career highlight or one of your positive personality traits to help get the ball rolling.
  5. Offer to write a simple letter yourself. This sounds especially strange but happens more often than you’d think. These people of authority in your life are most often very busy. You could suggest that you write the letter, send it to them, and if they agree with what you wrote, they could sign it. If they agree with the things you wrote and decide to sign off on it, send it with your application.

A letter of recommendation can really help you in your job search and in your academic applications. Employers and admissions officers know what kind of person they want for their institution and a letter of recommendation sheds light on who you are. The more recommendations you can get, the better!

Learn more about recommendation letters, writing your resume, and other professional resources from the SUU Career and Professional Development Center.

Tags: Student CurStu Career Center

Related Posts