When applying for a job, you’ll often be asked to provide various documents. In addition to a resume and a cover letter, you may also be asked to provide a letter of recommendation. Letters of recommendation refer to written testimonies from trusted sources that vouch for the ability of the letter’s subject to perform a task. The purpose of these letters is to reassure a future employer that you have the skills, qualifications, and attributes necessary to thrive in the position you’ve applied for. Due to the large influence that such letters can have when applying for a job, knowing how to ask for a letter of recommendation is essential. Here are some of our tips for acquiring a glowing letter of recommendation.
Ask the right person
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t ask someone to write you a recommendation letter if they haven’t spent much time with you and aren’t familiar with your work. While an esteemed professor may be well-respected in your career’s community, they probably won’t be able to provide more than a generic and lackluster letter of recommendation if they don’t know you very well. Instead, only ask people to write you a letter of recommendation if they have seen you exemplify the characteristics and skills required in the job you are applying to.
Don’t ask for too much
If you’ve already asked someone to serve as a reference, you should try to avoid asking them to also write your letter of recommendation. Expecting them to set aside time to answer calls and write out a detailed and meaningful recommendation letter is a lot to ask one person. Plus, having a broad array of sources advocating for you will also look attractive to hiring managers.
When requesting a recommendation letter, make sure to ask nicely. Don’t just send them a quick email. Start by telling them how much you have enjoyed their class or what a pleasure it was to work with them and then ask for their help. Taking the time to butter them up a little will make them more willing to take the time to write you a quality letter of recommendation.
Simplify the process
Writing a quality letter of recommendation can take up ample time. To make the process as quick and painless as possible for the person writing your letter, supply them with all the necessary information that they need rather than making them hunt for it themselves. For example, you should send them a copy of the job’s requirements and outline the skills and abilities you would like them to focus on when writing your letter.
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