How to Ask for a Recommendation Letter

When the time comes that you need to request a recommendation or reference letter, it can be daunting thinking you have to ask someone else to write about you. Before asking someone to write the recommendation letter or reference letter for you, make sure to select the right person.

When asking someone to write your recommendation letter format they must be able to evaluate your professional qualities and have a good idea about your qualifications and skills. When it comes to asking someone to write your reference letter format they have to know you on a more personal level and be able to talk about your hobbies and interests.

Who to Ask for a Recommendation/Reference Letter

If you are unsure who would be willing to write your recommendation letter or reference letter, think back to anyone who you have had a professional relationship with. This could include:

  • Teachers: from school or college who have taught you or know you well
  • Previous employers or colleagues: they do not have to be from your latest workplace but can be from any previous job, that know you well
  • Mentors or coaches: those who can speak about you positively
  • Community members: who have a good sense of your character

Remember, if the person you want to ask ends up rejecting your request, keep trying with other contacts. It is common to have a few references in your file in case you are asked for more than one. Therefore, if someone does not feel comfortable writing your letter of recommendation or reference, it is not a problem and do not take it personally; simply try again and ask someone else.

Ideas for How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation or Reference

You should be able to decide on the best method to use when asking for a recommendation letter or reference letter by whichever one seems appropriate, according to the relationship you have with the person that will write it. Make an extra effort to approach them well in advance of your deadline so that they have enough time to write it and consciously explain to them when your deadline is so they are aware of your schedule.

  • Speak to them in person, if possible - this is the best way to explain your situation
  • Contact them by email - the most common method
  • Contact them by phone only if there is no other way to get hold of them

It would be common courtesy to make sure that after you have received your letter of recommendation or reference, to thank the person who wrote it to show that you are appreciative of the effort they have gone through.

If they would like to view some recommendation letter samples to help them write, send them a few of templates.

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