How to Get Recommendation Letters

By: Sebastian Leung

In our ever-increasingly competitive world, recommendation letters are one of the most important aspects of any application. With more and more people applying for college, graduate school, jobs, and internships, recruiters are often faced with more qualified candidates than they can accept. Because of this, a holistic approach has been adopted by many recruiters. With a holistic approach, recruiters evaluate candidates on more than just their resumes or pure qualifications. They take into account an applicant’s personality, values, and goals in an attempt to get to know the whole applicant. This is why the recommendation letter is so important. It will help bolster your standing as a top applicant, even if you have an outstanding resume.


How do I Get a Good Recommendation Letter?

There are a few simple but important steps to obtain good recommendation letters.

Get to Know Your Professors, Supervisors, and Colleagues. Before you begin asking for recommendations or even applying for positions, it’s always a good decision to develop relationships with your professors, supervisors or professionals. Even if you don’t plan to ask them for recommendations, it’s good to start expanding your connections. Look for ways to get to know them better or work alongside them to further develop your professional experience.

Select Your Recommenders. The next step to getting a recommendation letter is to select several people you’d like to get recommendations from. These can be professors, fellow professionals, or mentor figures in your life. Choose your recommenders wisely. You want to select someone that you have a positive relationship with and has seen your academic work or professional ethic career. 

Ask Your Recommenders. Be sure to contact your recommenders leaving plenty of time for them to respond and to actually write the recommendation. When you contact them, don’t simply ask them for a recommendation. It is a good idea to provide some information about the position you’re applying for and even a copy of your resume so they know your qualifications. Make sure to include a link, email, or application where they can submit recommendations. Keep in mind that people you ask to write recommendations for you won’t always say yes. If they decline, thank them politely and reach out to someone else to request a recommendation..

Be of Any Assistance Possible. After confirming your recommenders, be sure to stay in touch with the recommender and provide them with any information they request. Whether it be about you or the position you’re applying for. Some may even ask to interview you, so be ready to help.

Follow Up! Usually, applications will let you know whether or not you’re recommenders have submitted their recommendations yet. If it’s nearing the deadline and they haven’t submitted their letters yet, be sure to follow up with them and ask them if they need any more information. Additionally, you may need to gently remind them about the deadline.

Say Thank You! After the application process is over, be sure to thank them for recommending you, whether or not you got accepted. A simple thank you email thanking them for their time and their efforts should suffice.