Tips For Students in Need of a Stellar Letter of Recommendation

June 11, 2020

One of the most important tools for applying for any new position is a positive letter of recommendation. Although a recommendation is a common necessity for most applications, it can be tricky to acquire one. You are not alone if you feel awkward about asking for a letter of recommendation. Many people feel this way, so this article will focus on how to best approach acquiring an exemplary recommendation letter.

letter of recommendation

Who to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

It can be really daunting to ask someone to write a recommendation and difficult to figure out what they should say about you. Additionally, it is not easy to know who to ask. Unquestionably, you will want someone with excellent writing skills to write this letter. However, the person you ask should also be someone who knows you well and can reflect on how much you have to offer.

Take a second a think about someone that you share a strong connection with who has witnessed your hard work. This might be a professor or manager who has seen your skills firsthand. It could also be a connection you may have with someone who works in the field you are entering. Sometimes, the person you need to ask is practically chosen for you as many applications require someone specific, like a supervisor or even a friend. Make sure to follow directions if that is the case!

What to Expect out of a Letter of Recommendation

Before starting the process of getting a letter of recommendation, you might want to look at some strong examples. You want your letter to stand out and these examples will provide an idea of something that will get noticed. It will also demonstrate what should be said about you and how it can be formatted. Looking at examples like these can also be helpful if someone ever asks you for a recommendation.

Some great examples of letters can be found on The Balance Careers, including ones that are both positive and professional. Additionally, Prep Scholar has a few examples of letters coming from many different points of view, like employers, coworkers, professors, and friends.

Additionally, you should send the writer the job description as well as your resume. Your resume should highlight your job experiences and skills. If you feel you need to work on improving your resume, check out this article on how to do that while working from home. One way to make your resume more original would be to take up a side gig. If you are interested in that, be sure to check out this article. By using the resume and job description, the writer can create their own idea of how to describe you in a way that compliments what the employer is looking for.

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

According to a list of tips compiled for first-year students by Georgia Southern University, it is important to ask for a recommendation letter in person. This is polite and shows appreciation for their time and consideration. However, it is perfectly acceptable to ask via email if necessary. Make sure to show this person how much you appreciate their consideration and value their opinion. Also, be sure to give them ample time to write the letter before the due date. Not only is this considerate of their needs, but it will likely improve the letter overall.

The individual you ask may want some ideas of what they should say in this letter. As the subject, it can be strange to tell them what they should write about you. There are certainly a few keywords you can give them, though. Reference the job description to figure out what the company wants in an employee. For example, if they need someone that can work well in groups, tell them to highlight that you are a team player.

student shaking hands with professors

Some Helpful Tips

If you can, waive your right to read the recommendation. You may not be given the option to do this, but if possible you should consider the benefits of it. Although it may seem unimportant since the letter is about you, this simple action actually makes you come across as a more confident candidate. Prep Scholar suggests that it causes the employer to assume that you trust the writer’s opinion of your capabilities. One of the worst things would be for an employer to think that you do not believe in your abilities. After all, why would they hire you if you don’t believe you can do the job?

After you have given the writer all the necessary information, give them enough time to finish the letter. It might be tough to wait for them to be finished, but it will be worth it! However, if you do not hear from them when the due date approaches, reach out to them. They are probably occupied with other things and it is possible that they need a reminder to finish this task. Simply check in with them to make sure that they remember the deadline and any other pertinent information.

At some point after they have sent in the letter, you should reach out to them again to thank them for this favor. Whoever you have asked is likely busy and you want to recognize that. You should let them know if you get the job, too, as they likely care about your future. Plus, they might be able to find another opportunity for you if you do not end up being chosen for this position.

Key Takeaways

Letters of recommendation are extremely important, so make sure the person writing yours feels strongly that you are right for the job. If you are nervous about asking them, remember that everyone feels that way when asking a favor of someone they admire. Although this may be a daunting task, it is something that you will have to do a few times in your life so you may as well get better at it now!

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