How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

A perfect job just opened up. You have a great resume and cover letter ready to go, but the company asks for a letter of recommendation. Asking for a letter of recommendation may seem intimidating if you don’t know who to ask. If you’re lucky, maybe you have someone in mind.

To get the most out of your recommendation, make sure you handle the process of asking for one with professionalism. Here are some tips to help push you towards receiving that phenomenal letter to get you that job.

Pick the right person to ask

You may or may not have had someone in mind, but taking careful consideration is important when you are trying to get the best recommendation for the job. Start by making a list of potential people who can write your letter. Make sure the person is someone who you have a good relationship with.

Make sure the person you ask knows enough about you

The person you ask should have a lot of nice things to say about you. When you ask you should start by seeing if they know enough about you. Try asking, “Do you feel you know enough about my abilities and work ethics to write me a letter of recommendation?”.

This will give that person a chance to let you know if they feel comfortable enough to write your letter and if they know enough about your work.

Have supporting documents handy

Provide the writer with an updated resume to reference. They may need a quick refresher about your responsibilities if you haven’t worked with them in a while. They may also want to highlight some of your accomplishments. This makes the process easier for them. If the employer has any special requirements or you want to provide an example, be sure to have that ready. It is easiest to email this information after they agree to write a letter.

Give them plenty of time

Don’t wait until the last minute to request a recommendation letter. You don’t want them to be pressed for time or give them a reason to turn you down. Also, it is helpful to let them know when they need the letter so they can plan their schedule and write it at a time that is convenient.

Send a thank you note

Show your appreciation for a completed recommendation whether you go the job or not. Send a handwritten note or at the very least, a heartfelt email. You never know they may be able to help you again