How to Write A Letter Asking for Recommendation (Tips + Template)

how-to-ask-for-recommendation

Getting a recommendation letter is common in many professional situations. If you are searching for employment, you’ll be asking for a recommendation letter at least once. You might also make a recommendation letter request for academic programs, promotions, department changes, and volunteer positions. 

Asking someone to write a letter of recommendation can help increase your chances of securing the position you want. It helps the hiring manager trust your application and get a better sense of you as a person. Don’t be afraid of asking for a recommendation letter since it’s an essential asset to your application.

What Is a Letter of Recommendation?

If it’s your first time getting a letter of recommendation, you might be wondering what it is. A recommendation letter is a document that the writer uses to appraise your qualities, skills, and abilities. Requesting a letter of recommendation is important because it can help you in your application for employment or for academic programs.

Why Should You Ask for a Recommendation Letter? 

Asking for a letter of recommendation will indicate to your prospective employers your qualities like skills, achievements, personality, and attitude. It provides another perspective on you beyond what you might put in a resume or cover letter

Who will you ask for a letter of recommendation? 

You have many options to choose from when it comes to asking for a recommendation letter. Your previous or current employer, manager, or supervisor are all people to whom you could make a recommendation letter request. But you could also consider less obvious options, like asking for a recommendation letter from your teachers or professors. If it’s for first time employment, consider requesting a recommendation letter from a religious leader or neighbor. 

How to Ask for a Reference Letter

If you’re not sure how to ask for a recommendation letter, you’re not alone. Asking for a recommendation letter can be intimidating, but the process is straightforward. Here are some simple steps to getting a letter of recommendation. 

Decide who to ask for letters of recommendation.

You may be wondering, “Who should I ask for a letter of recommendation?” Think carefully about what you need in your application and who is the best to ask for a recommendation letter, with respect to your goals. Ideally, the person you ask to write your reference letter should be someone articulate, who will use the letter to paint you in a positive light. 

Prepare an up-to-date resume. 

If you’re wondering what to provide when asking for a letter of recommendation, don’t forget a current resume. Send your resume to the author along with your recommendation letter request, to summarize your skills and qualifications. Providing your resume will help them elaborate on your experience or abilities and will ultimately get a stronger reference letter from the writer. 

Ask in person first. 

A letter of recommendation request is best done in person first, if possible. Ultimately, whoever you’re asking for a recommendation letter from is helping you and talking to them directly is more professional. While requesting a letter of recommendation in person can be daunting, it could help to prepare what you will say in advance. 

Send an email.

After asking for a recommendation letter in person, send a gentle recommendation letter request email to remind the writer and to reiterate your gratitude. Your email should include details like the position you are applying to and the relevant skills and experience you have. Including these details when asking for a letter of recommendation will give the writer a greater sense of direction. 

Follow up before the deadline. 

After asking someone to write a letter of recommendation, it’s possible they could forget their commitment or get busy with other tasks. If it’s getting close to the application deadline and they haven’t confirmed their submission, it might help you to follow up with your writer and send another letter of recommendation request email. 

Email to say thank you.

After getting a letter of recommendation, don’t forget to say thank you! Expressing your gratitude is an important part of asking for a recommendation letter. The writer did you a favor and thanking them is the professional thing to do. Your thank you email to the writer can be short and sweet, but it’s important not to forget this step. 

Tips for Requesting a Letter of Recommendation

Many people wonder how to request a letter of recommendation. Asking for a recommendation letter can be uncomfortable, but it’s a common part of any application, and it’s easy enough to get right. Follow these tips to help you with your recommendation letter request. 

  • Be polite. 

When you’re asking someone to write a letter of recommendation, the most important thing is to be polite. Your tone when asking for a recommendation letter should be professional and respectful, to leave a good impression. Otherwise, you may find getting a letter of recommendation is harder than you thought! 

  • Don’t be pushy. 

If you’re wondering how to ask someone for a letter of recommendation, another tip is to avoid being too demanding or impatient. Remember that everyone’s time is valuable, and you can’t expect an answer right away. Furthermore, your recommendation letter request may be turned down if you are too pushy, and it could make you seem unprofessional. 

  • Have more than one writer. 

You might need a few references, so don’t be afraid of asking for recommendation letters from more than one person. Try asking for a letter of recommendation from uniquely different sources, like an employer and a teacher. This will give your employer another perspective and further strengthen your application.  

  • Make it easy for the writer. 

Requesting a letter of recommendation is almost as hard as actually writing one. It can be intimidating for the writer as well, and they’ll want you to succeed. Thankfully there’s something you can do to make it easier on your writer when asking for a recommendation letter. 

  • Highlight relevant achievements and skills.

When you consider how to request a letter of recommendation, keep in mind that the writer doesn’t know how to upsell you. When asking someone for a recommendation letter, it’s appropriate to remind them of your abilities and guide them on what to highlight. Your recommendation letter request email is your opportunity to make it clear what achievements and skills you have that apply to this new position. You can also send them a copy of the job posting or program requirements to further showcase your applicable skills. 

  • Ask the writer early. 

When asking for a recommendation letter, it’s best to do so as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the application deadline is close to make a recommendation letter request. This might not leave enough time for the author to write it. 

Letter of Recommendation Request Email Template

If you’re not sure of how to request a letter of recommendation, try looking at what others have written. You may need to follow an example of asking for a letter of recommendation if you’re looking for what to say. A recommendation letter request sample helps you with the writing by providing a guide to follow and space to include your own information. 

Use the following template to assist you in getting a letter of recommendation.

Dear [Writer Name],

I hope this email finds you well. Currently, I’m applying to [Position or Program Title] at [Company or School Name] and I wanted to know if you would consider writing a letter of recommendation on my behalf. 

I valued my time as [your relationship to the writer], and your recommendation would mean a lot to me. I’m confident you could attest to my [list of skills and qualifications], which I demonstrated during our time together. 

I appreciate your consideration of my request. The deadline for my application is [date]. I’ve attached a copy of my resume and the [job posting or program requirements], as well as directions for submitting the letter. If you need any questions, please feel free to contact me. 

Thank you very much for your time. 

Sincerely, 

[Your Name]

Conclusion

Asking someone to write a letter of recommendation can be intimidating, but most professionals will do so at least once during their career. If you’re not sure how to ask for a reference letter, there are some basic tips and steps you can follow to make requesting a letter of recommendation easier. If you’re not sure where to start writing, try using a letter of recommendation request email template. Above all, when asking for a recommendation letter, be polite and professional.

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