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5 Tips When Asking for Letters of Recommendation

We already gave some advice on receiving an awesome recommendation letter, but here are five more tips that will build your confidence when asking for a letter of recommendation. Whether you are a prospective, current, or former student applying for a scholarship or job, asking for a letter can be an intimidating and overwhelming process, so keep reading to learn more!

1. Begin the process early. Make sure to start the application process early or at least become familiar with the application requirements. Knowing these requirements will give you an idea of about how long the process will take and which aspects of the application will take more time to complete. You will also learn how many letters of rec need to be submitted and other important criteria.

2. Provide background information. It is important that you introduce your letter of recommendation request with a short explanation about what position/scholarship you are applying for and why. After you provide background information, find out if your instructor or mentor has the time or is comfortable writing a letter. It is always better to ask for a letter of recommendation in person, however if your schedules are not compatible, a phone call or formal email request will suffice. Do NOT ask over social media or through a text.

3. Ask in advance. Everyone has a hectic schedule, so make sure to ask your instructor or mentor at least two weeks before the letter is due in order to allow them enough time to complete it. It is also a good idea to send in the letter a few days before it is due; in case of any complications.

4. Give specifics and supporting information. It is important that your letter of recommendation be as specific as possible. Provide the author a copy of your most recent resume so they may see your accomplishments and credentials and can reference those in your letter. The more information you provide the more specific your letter will be, which is a crucial asset for a job interview or application.

5. Ask someone that knows you. A letter of recommendation needs to be personal in order for it to make your letter stand-out. To ensure your letter is as personalized as possible, be sure to ask someone who knows you well and knows your education and performance. A professor, adviser, or employer that is familiar with your work and your determination for success will be able to provide specific examples of your character in the efforts of boosting your recommendation.

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