By James | February 26, 2012
There is going to be a point in your (yes, I’m talking to you) life where you are going to have to ask someone for a letter of recommendation. It could be a teacher, coach, or even your 80-year-old next door neighbor whose grass you cut for 13 years. No matter who it is, there are certain norms and unwritten rules that you need to follow – no. matter. what.
1. Always be extremely courteous and polite when asking for someone to do you this favor. This is because what you are really asking them is “Will you take two hours out of your already busy schedule to write me a summary of everything I have accomplished in the past four years? Also, I need it next week Monday.” Understand that they are taking THEIR time to help YOU get what you WANT. Always have a smile on your face and be willing to answer any questions they may have, such as what are you applying for, where would it be, etc.
2. Check up on the letter before it is due. Now that rule number one is in the open, you know that these people are busy. This means that every once in a while they may or may not forget to write the letter. Everyone makes mistakes. Send he or she and email just reminding them that you need your letter by a certain date. Make sure to include your thanks once again in this email/call/whatever – it shows that you really do appreciate their input. Also put “Contact me at ________ or *867-5309* with any questions you may have.” It makes YOU sound more PROFESSIONAL and willing to adjust to their schedule.
3. The final step: thank you notes. Upon reception or submission of your letter of recommendation make sure to thank whoever wrote it for you. I usually go with a letter – it’s safe, clean, and who doesn’t like getting a letter like that? I know they always make my day. This will put you on their good side, which is GREAT, especially if you eventually need another letter from them for another application.
There you have it. If you follow those three easy steps – you will at least be on good terms with your recommendationer (that isn’t the correct spelling/term/word and I know it) – now you just need to get on good terms with your potential employer.