After completing your graduate or undergraduate degree you are likely to ask a professor an academic professor at your college for a recommendation letter to provide a reference as you embark on the journey to seek jobs. These letters reflect not just the quality of the student, but also the integrity of the professor and ultimately the university. However, it can be a daunting and anxiety-producing experience.
Here’s how you can ask your professor for a letter of recommendation successfully:
- Choose a faculty member who knows you well – The recommendation letter should reveal aspects of your personality and give insight into your character. Therefore, the more a professor or academic supervisor knows about you, the more specific the letter will be. And they will also be able to provide distinct anecdotes about you. Don’t ask a professor whose class you’ve barely passed. Many students face the dilemma of choosing between professors who are seasoned or really famous but knows only their face and final grade or a lesser known professor who knows them better.
The letter written by well-known professors only carry weight, if they know you well and can provide specifics about your personal characteristics or accomplishments rather than glittering generalities. If the letter is more detailed and personalized it will make a stronger impression on a selection committee.
- Ask Early – It is a common courtesy to make an appointment to discuss the recommendation letter at least three weeks in advance of the deadline, or maybe a month or more if you need multiple letters. Since professors have tight schedules it will provide them a substantial amount of time to write a thoughtful and distinctive letter.
- Make a formal request of your professor – You can do so by e-mail or by appointment. You can begin your request with a considerable conversation about your interests and goals and then ask them if they can write a strong letter of recommendation. It is highly recommended that you ask for a recommendation in person. However, make sure to send an e-mail to your professor to set up an appointment or meeting as they have tight schedules.
- Provide materials – Once the professor have agreed to write your letter, provide them with copies of your application materials, such as, photocopies of key pages from the application brochure, graduate program or any other opportunity, an updated resume, a copy (or a draft) of your application essays, or a summary of your career and educational goals, a description of pertinent work or research experiences, a copy of your transcript, etc.
- Organize your Projects and Academics Document – Prepare an outline of your academics papers or projects and document that you completed with success. If you’ve got a handful of papers that were well evaluated you can also take copies of these documents.
- Provide them with all the submission instructions and deadlines – There should be no confusion regarding when and where to submit the finished letters. Provide properly addressed, typed, stamped envelopes.
- Keep in touch – After you’ve submitted your application, thank your recommenders by sending them a thank you note for their guidance and support. Also, update them on your progress.
Sample Request for a Letter of Recommendation from the Professor in College –
Subject: Rebecca Jones Reference Request
Dear Ms. Green,
I am writing to you to request that you provide a reference for me as I begin my job search. As you know, I will be completing my graduate studies this spring, and have found several exciting opportunities that I am exploring.
As my undergraduate thesis advisor and mentor, I believe that a reference from you would provide a potential employer with information to recommend me as a school counselor.
If you need any additional information, please contact me via email or phone.
Thank you for your consideration and support.
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How to Request a Letter of Recommendation from Employer?
- Ask from an employer you’ve worked closely with and who are aware of your skills and strengths. They should write a letter depicting your accomplishments and providing an insight into your character.
- Potential employers often look for multiple references to make a list of people who can write letters for you. If you have only had one employer then you can ask your former teacher or community leaders to write a letter of support.
- Ask early to give them ample time to write.
- Make a request in person or via e-mail.
- Provide them with the necessary details like the copy of job posting, your cover letter to help them tailor the letter to the specific job and application. Also make sure to send them g a copy of your resume, CV, portfolio, or other evidence of your work history.
- After your letter is finished it is courteous to send your employer a thank you card or to thank them in person. Moreover, keep them updated on your progress.
Sample Request for a Letter of Recommendation from Employer –
Subject line: Reference for Ashton Zimmer
Dear Ms. Austen,
I am reaching out to ask you to provide me a reference for a new opportunity I am seeking with ABX Industries. Of course, I completely understand if you are unable to commit to this. Please just let me know as soon as possible.
I learned a lot about the industry while working for you at Acme Corporation, and I think you would be able to provide the kind of insight into my skills that would increase my chances of landing this new position. As you know, I have recently been employed at VBN Industries, heading their research and development division. The opportunity at CBI Industries is related but would also require many of the sales and marketing techniques I developed while working for you.
Thank you very much for considering my request. I have attached a copy of my updated resume and the job posting for your review. John Geller from Human Resources will be the contact person at ABX who will be in touch if you agree to provide the reference for me.
If you have any questions or need any further information, please don’t hesitate to let me know.