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A letter of recommendation is also known as a reference letter is a document written by someone who knows you well and can attest to your character and qualifications. A good reference letter can make or break your job application, so it's important to choose your references carefully and to ask for a reference letter only if you're certain that the person you’re asking will write you a positive one.
If you’re planning on continuing your education or applying for a job or internship, you will likely need one or more letters of recommendation to support your application. In this blog post, we will provide tips on how to ask your professor or employer for a reference letter.
Here are some tips on how to ask for a reference letter:
The sooner you can ask for a reference letter, the better. This gives your reference time to write a strong letter on your behalf. When possible, try to give at least two weeks’ notice.
Your professor or employer should be able to speak to your strengths and abilities in an academic or professional setting. Choose someone whom you have worked closely with and who can attest to your skills. If you're unsure whether or not a person will write you a positive letter, don't ask them.
When asking for a reference letter, it’s helpful to provide your reference with:
By providing this information, your reference will be able to write a targeted letter that will improve your chances of being accepted into the program or landing the job.
There is no one right way to ask for a reference letter. However, it’s important to be polite and appreciative when making your request. Write a brief introduction email or letter asking the person if they would be willing to write a reference letter for you (see our examples below). If they say no or are unable to write you a positive letter, don’t take it personally – simply move on and find another reference.
We hope that these tips will help you secure the strong reference letters that you need for your application. Remember to give plenty of notice, choose references wisely, provide helpful information and make your request politely. Best of luck!
I hope that you are well.
I am planning to apply for the (name of specific program etc.) this coming (July/autumn, in 6 months, etc.) and I was wondering if you might be able to help me by writing a letter of recommendation. I would really appreciate your input and professionalism.
I am particularly interested in the (subject matter of the course/programme) aspect of the (programme/course), this is an area which I feel I can use my already thorough years of study background attained with you, to their fullest and evolve further for the future.
Your courses gave me a wonderful foundation; I enjoyed the study and feel confident to take these interests and talents further. You encouraged me to explore my passions and this has led me to want to further develop this area for me.
Please find enclosed a list of my academic experience, most of which you are already up to date with, but I have also enclosed my work experience as of late. These periods of work experience I have done were chosen specifically in order to further my practical knowledge in the field. I felt that this was important and necessary for me to gain personal confidence and also to really see if this was something.
I wanted to pursue in life. They were wonderful experiences for me and I am only looking forward to what the future can bring.
Please let me know if this is something that you would be willing to help me with. If so, I believe that you may need my resume together with my accompanying cover letter as well as any further documentation that you feel might be good to include.
I look forward to your thoughts and response.
(Your name and contact details listed)
Dear Mr. Doe,
In order to be considered for an employment opportunity, I am writing to request a letter of reference regarding a professional opportunity.
Over the past several years, I have been an integral part of your team and have always given my best effort to complete every project on time and within budget.
My educational background, professional accomplishments, and work ethic make me a good fit for the new role. In addition, I possess strong communication skills and interpersonal skills which would be beneficial in any workplace.
It would be a great pleasure if my current employer could provide me with a letter of reference that outlines the projects I have completed successfully and highlights the skills and traits I possess that would be beneficial for any potential employer.
Your kind recommendation would be greatly appreciated by the hiring team and is crucial for me to get this opportunity. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you need any further information or clarification about my background or qualifications.
Your support in this matter is much appreciated, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.