Whether you’re heading to the work world or looking for an internship or scholarship, you’re probably going to need at least a couple of letters of recommendation. But, whom do you ask? How do you ask? What kind of information should you provide?
Well, remember that the point of your letter is to highlight your strengths, note your strong work ethic, point out your attention to detail, recognize your ability to work well with others, etc.
Whom do you ask?
To get a letter with that kind of information, you’ll need to ask those people who know your quality of work and will write a glowing recommendation for you. It could be a current or former professor, a current or former employer, or a previous internship supervisor. But choose wisely.
How do you ask?
Make sure when you ask someone to write a recommendation you tell him or her what the letter is for. Are you applying for a special scholarship? Are you trying to get a great internship? Do you hope to get a coveted research job? That information will help the letter writer compose an appropriate recommendation for you.
And, for all of you procrastinators out there, make sure you ask far enough in advance. The people you will likely ask for a letter are probably busy and won’t be able to write a letter in one day or even one week. So, let them know as far in advance as you possibly can.
What kind of information should you provide?
You might want to include with your request to a professor a couple of your best assignments that you completed in his or her class as a reminder of the work you have done.
One final thought
Once you get the letters, don’t forget to thank those people who wrote them for you.
Have you already been through this process? If so, let us know how you did it.