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How to ask for a letter of recommendation

How to ask for a letter of recommendation

A letter of recommendation or recommendation letter is a letter in which the capabilities, characteristics and qualities of the person being recommended is assessed by the writer. Letters of recommendation are typically required by employers or companies when hiring new employees. If the potential employee does not have any past experience, then he/she will need to get their letter of recommendation from a teacher or professor, while people with work experience need to get their letter of recommendation from someone in their earlier organization.

Asking for a letter of recommendation 

For people who are applying for a job for the first time, they need to get a letter of recommendation from their teacher or professor. Before you ask your teacher for a letter of recommendation, you need to understand the purpose of it. A letter of recommendation should be able to tell more about you as a person and a student. It can highlight your personality, potential, characteristics and performance over the course of your graduation or post-graduation.

Following are the steps to follow for asking for a letter of recommendation:

Choose a teacher who knows you well: For writing your letter of recommendation, you should select a teacher or professor who knows you very well and can give insights into your personality. Since they are more experienced, they might know things about which you are also not aware. Ask for a letter of recommendation from more than one teacher. If for some reason one teacher is unable to give you the letter of recommendation in time, you have other teachers to fall back upon.

Ask for a letter of recommendation well in advance: You should ask for a letter of recommendation at least one month in advance since writing such a letter is time consuming. Some teachers only write a certain number of letters of recommendation, in such situations you should make a request more than one month in advance to ensure that your request is accepted.

Select older teachers: Teachers or professors with more experience also must have written a higher number of letters of recommendation, which makes them a better choice. They have more knowledge about what should and should not be mentioned in the letter.

Provide the teachers with details: Once you have requested the teachers for a letter of recommendation, give them the details like for what purpose do you need it. Is it for a job application or for further studies? This makes it easier for them to decide what to mention in the letter of recommendation. You should supply them with material like summary of your career objective, activities that you have undertaken, and research material, among others. Teachers can base their letter of recommendation on this material, thereby highlighting your strengths.

Offer to help in writing the letter of recommendation: After you have made the request for a letter of recommendation, ask your teacher whether you should write the letter for them. Mention that you will submit the letter to them for checking and feedback. Some teachers might like this idea as everyone has very busy schedules now-a-days. If your teacher agrees to you writing the letter of recommendation, then write a page about your past projects, your potential and your best performance. Send the letter to the teacher and let them decide what they want to keep and what they want to change.

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