How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation?

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation?

Letters of recommendation may be required when applying for entrance to an institution, a job, or a scholarship. These letters, usually prepared by professors, counselors, or supervisors, are intended to attest to your credentials and character.

Some firms will ask you to produce a letter of recommendation during the interview process. It would help if you had them available in case you are asked for one. A solid recommendation enables the person examining your application to learn more about you than your résumé, providing a more comprehensive picture of your personality and what inspires you.

This letter request can be made independently or with a request to speak with your references. A strong recommendation letter may set you apart from the crowd. A strong letter of recommendation may help you stand out from the crowd and boost your possibilities of being recruited or accepted.

Now, how to ask for a recommendation letter? Furthermore, who do you question? Finally, what must the letter include? In this post, we will define a recommendation letter and provide step-by-step instructions to assist you in receiving the best letter of recommendation from an employer. This article also includes some letters of recommendation request email samples.

In this blog,

What is a letter of recommendation? 
Who should you ask for a letter of recommendation?
Letter of recommendation vs. referenceHow to ask for a letter of recommendation?
Tips for getting a good letter of recommendation
Letter of recommendation request email samples.

What is a letter of recommendation? 

A recommendation letter is a document that discusses an individual’s abilities, talents, and attributes that might lead to them becoming a winning candidate for a possible position. It is a letter written on behalf of a candidate by someone who can attest to their academic or professional accomplishments. This letter is often addressed to a hiring manager or admissions officer evaluating a potential employee, intern, or scholarship applicant.

The letter must be between two pages to ensure that a prospective employer or university entrance committee receives essential information.

Selecting the right people to write your letters of recommendation can take time and effort. Former bosses, coworkers, instructors, and mentors may write detailed and comprehensive recommendation letters. Try to identify somebody who understands you well and can correctly express your capacity to perform in the future position when determining whom to approach for a recommendation letter.

The credentials and abilities of a person concerning a job or education are described in a letter of recommendation. These letters are usually given to a hiring manager or admissions counselor who chooses whether to hire you or accept you to a program. They should attest to your credentials and character. It’s a strong endorsement from a credible source.

Whom should you ask for a letter of recommendation? 

Composing a recommendation letter for an individual is a difficult task. It requires time and consideration. As a result, everyone who agrees to write you a letter of reference is doing you a great favor and most likely thinks very highly of you. Who you might be asking for a letter of recommendation may be determined by who will get the letter.

Now, whom to ask for a letter of recommendation? If the letter is to help you apply to a college or graduate school, ask a university lecturer or teacher with whom you have a strong connection. If the note is given to a new employer, the obvious candidate for a letter of reference would be a previous boss.

They must be someone you know well. They must also be objective and possess some professional credibility in your industry. You could be tempted to approach someone with much influence. It is more crucial, though, that you choose someone with an intimate experience with you personally.

Reduce your list of probable prospects once you are left only with two or three. Then, ask individuals around you for impartial advice on who might be most fit for the job.

People who could give you a good recommendation letter include:

  • a prior boss or supervisor
  • A professor, instructor, guidance counselor, or member of the faculty
  • A close familial relative
  • A minister or pastor

Letter of recommendation vs. reference

While they may appear the same, references and a letter of recommendation differ.

A reference letter is more generic in scope than a recommendation letter. It is an exhaustive evaluation of abilities and experience. Reference letters are typically written to “To Whom It May Concern,” rather than to a specific individual.

To establish if you’re a good match for a post, potential employers may frequently request a reference list regarding your résumé. Each reference should provide the contact details of those who have consented to attest to your character and abilities. In addition, you can obtain references from previous employers, supervisors, business connections, mentors, clients, instructors, lecturers, or faculty members.

A recommendation letter also discusses a person’s work ethic, attitude, and aptitude for the position they seek. It is a one-of-a-kind letter based on the author’s observation with you.

So because the writer is suggesting you for a specific job or program, a good recommendation letter is typically more potent than a reference. In addition, these letters are written to one particular recipient, such as a company’s recruiting manager.

How to ask for a letter of recommendation?

You may be persuaded of the value of a strong letter of recommendation, but it makes asking for a letter of recommendation more complex. Fortunately, there are methods to make this request less stressful.

It’s very typical to be concerned about requesting a recommendation letter. While it may seem strange initially, it is a necessary component of the application procedure. With some planning, you may increase your chances of receiving glowing references.

1. Choose whom you want to write your letters to.

Somebody who knows you and can speak to your characteristics personally will provide the most effective recommendation. Create a list of persons you could approach. You’ll likely need only three, but having backups is always a good idea in case something goes wrong.

Consider asking a schoolteacher and high-school guidance counselor if you’re applying to college. Choose professors with whom you had a strong relationship and with whom you performed well in previous lessons. A letter from a school guidance counselor is required for many college applications.

When looking for a job and asking for a reference letter from a past employer, try to find one that has seen you improve your talents and can offer specific instances of times you surpassed expectations or succeeded in overcoming a problem.

2. Be polite in your request.

Depending on your connection, you may ask your employer for a reference face, over the phone, or by email. If you want to talk with your boss in person or over the phone, contact them ahead of time to set up a meeting. Please explain why you choose them for the request when requesting the letter. In addition, describe any detailed information that convinced you they were the appropriate person to compose the letter.

If your employer declines, express your appreciation for their time and indicate that you want to continue in touch. Maintaining a solid relationship will enable you to succeed in future possibilities. If an employer grants your request, thank them for their help. If you inquired in person or by phone, follow up with an email or letter to formalize your request.

3. Make a résumé or a brag sheet.

Making it simple for the individual conducting the writing to showcase your achievements and personal traits is one of the most excellent methods to earn a positive recommendation. A straightforward approach to achieve this is to give the individual composing your letter a copy of your academic credentials and résumé.

You can create a brag sheet if you are still attending school and do not yet have a CV. This is a short list that emphasizes your qualifications and most remarkable qualities. Include the following:

  • The classes you took with just this teacher or professor, as well as your grade
  • One or two of your most vital attributes, including how you’ve displayed them in class or at the workplace.
  • Your total GPA, test scores, and outstanding academic achievements
  • Your extracurricular hobbies or voluntary work
  • Working knowledge
  • Briefly describe your objectives for the program or post for which you apply.

While it may seem odd to boast about yourself, now is the moment to showcase your challenging work and revel in your successes.

4. Use a little flattery.

Always begin with some context and lovely comments when requesting a recommendation letter. When submitting a request, this is not only a conventional courtesy but will also increase your chances of earning a positive reference letter.

A little charm goes a long way, as the saying goes. So begin your request by telling your reference how much you loved working alongside them, respecting their advice, or learning from them.

5. Ask in person first.

Speak with each person before sending a formal, written request for a recommendation letter. Preparing what you’ll say ahead of time might help you feel calmer and more assured. Explain why you’re applying for this position and why you’d like this individual to suggest you.

You’re asking for a favor, but those who know you well likely wish for you to achieve and will gladly assist you. Teachers and professors, in particular, are accustomed to writing these letters; in fact, it is frequently a requirement of their job description.

6. Send a formal letter of recommendation request.

After you’ve confirmed your request in person, email each person who has consented to write your recommendation with a formal written request. You are welcome to utilize the templates below to help you write. Include the following information with your request:

  • Information about the post or function for which you are applying
  • Information on how and when to submit the letter
  • A new resume or brag sheet
  • a stamped, pre-addressed envelope (for notes that need to be sent by mail)
  • A letter example (if requested)

7. Follow up before the due date.

Send a friendly reminder a week or two before your letters are due. This is an excellent way to appreciate them for writing the letter and offer to email them any other format they might want.

Following up with your employer during and after the application process is both kind and beneficial. It expresses appreciation for the time they committed and raises the possibility that they will assist you again in the future. Once they have sent the letter acknowledging their efforts, you may write them a thank-you message. Once the hiring manager or admissions committee has decided, you can notify your employer of the procedure’s outcome.

8. Show gratitude.

It is customary to write a brief thank you message to each person that sent a letter on your behalf. Thank them for their assistance with a handwritten note or an email. Also, keep your information updated, as when you are approved for the position, notify your recommenders.

Tips for getting a good letter of recommendation 

1. Ask early to give ample time.

Around the time of college application deadlines, teachers and faculty members are sometimes bombarded with requests to submit recommendation letters. Asking ahead will allow them to devote time and attention to your message. Ask for professional recommendations at least three weeks in advance.

2. Request nicely.

Transparently, request a recommendation, specifying the letter’s objective and the deadline. Because your references are under no duty to provide you with a recommendation letter, carefully word your request nicely.

3. If you sense hesitation, ask someone else.

There are several reasons why someone may hesitate to write a letter of reference for you. And it may have nothing to do with you or your credentials. This individual may not believe they know you well enough or may be unable to speak to the abilities and credentials required for the position you’re seeking. You want letters of recommendation from people who will vouch for you without reservation.

4. Be graceful if they decline.

Even if it is discouraging, strive to accept and tolerate a refused request. If someone declines your bid, you should ask someone else who can give you a solid reference.

5. Ask people who know you.

You will get a more precise (and hence more successful) letter if you ask people with whom you have a relationship. In addition, a recommendation letter’s purpose is to give administrators and potential employers a better understanding of who you are and what your talents are. Therefore it’s critical to ask someone who knows you and your assets.

6. Be clear about what you need.

Always be specific about what you’re searching for when getting a recommendation letter. Your instructor or employer will only be able to write you a decent letter based on the information you provide.

You have indicated that you require a reference letter for such a program. Avoid a poor recommendation letter by carefully specifying what you want the letter to cover. Give information about the program or job you’re looking for and the abilities you’d like to showcase. You’ll get a better note, and your recommenders will appreciate the guidance.

7. When you leave a job, request a recommendation letter.

This is especially true if you have an excellent working connection with your boss. Get a letter when your manager’s memories of the influence you’ve made are still fresh. Then, you’ll have it ready to send to prospective employers.

Letter of recommendation request email samples

Many companies will require a letter of recommendation or a reference letter throughout the recruitment process, generally before, during, or after the interview. A strong letter of recommendation is another approach to distinguishing yourself from competitors.

It can be complicated to obtain a reference, so utilize our template to create a polite request. How to ask for a letter of recommendation via email? Here are two letters of recommendation request samples that you may send to people to obtain a letter of recommendation.

Begin with a clear subject line in both circumstances-‘Request for a Letter of Recommendation is a good choice. Then introduce yourself or refresh their memory if you last visited their class a while ago. Then, quickly but clearly explain what you’re requesting and why, and give the lecturer an option to deny your request gently.

1. Hello [Name],

I hope you’re enjoying your week.

I’m contacting you because I’m looking for [type of job] with [type of Company] and am gathering a few letters of recommendation to highlight my qualifications for this kind of employment.

Especially when we were able to work together on [project], I valued our time spent working together at [Company]. In light of this, you’d make an excellent witness to attest to my [important skill area] proficiency and my capacity to produce [amazing result].

I know you’re occupied. To make composing this letter a little bit simpler, I’m pleased to offer some extra talking points and facts.

Are you comfortable composing a letter of this essence for me? If there are any concerns regarding this, [Name], just let me know. Let’s meet up over coffee soon—my treat!

All the best,

(Your Name)

2. Email Subject Section: Recommendation Letter for [Your Name]

Dear Mr./Ms./Prof. [Reference’s Last Name] (You can start your letter by saying, “Hi [Name]”)

I’m contacting you since I’m applying for a new job at [business name] as [kind of role]. So I would like it if you would send a letter of recommendation for me as it is a requirement of the application procedure.

When we worked on [project], it was fun working together at [company name], and I learned a lot from you. In light of this, you would be a fantastic reference for my abilities in [important skill area]. My new position is closely connected to the [type of job] I presently hold, but it also calls for the [important skills] I gained through working with you.

You can review my most recent resume and the job description by downloading them to this email. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask; I’d be happy to respond. The letter must be submitted by [date]. If this is too soon, I understand, as I know how busy you are. Please let me know if you feel comfortable drafting a letter like this.


[Your Name].


Letters of recommendation are less common in job searches than your CV or cover letter. But it doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of them.

Knowing how to ask for a letter of recommendation, despite its power to impact your professional path, is something that only some are taught. So it’s natural to feel embarrassed about asking for a recommendation letter, especially if you’re leaving work.

However, remember that most people are happy to help if you ask gently, especially if you have a solid connection with them.

If the only thing stopping you from asking for these letters is that it can seem a bit awkward, take a big breath, follow these guidelines and this template, and send that email. You’ll have an impressive letter or two in your rear pocket to show employers that you’re the prospect they’ve been looking for.


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