Letter of Recommendation Ettiquette
How and Who to Ask
Choose well. Request recommendations from those who know you, since they will be better equipped to write a compelling recommendation for you.
Ask your potential recommender, “Do you feel you know me well enough to write a letter of recommendation for me” for this particular position/program/school/scholarship/etc. Rather than saying, “Will you write me a recommendation,” asking if they feel comfortable writing one is a better approach and gives them a way out if they don’t.
Identify what function your recommender should have. Who can write the best recommendation
for you for this particular position/program/school/scholarship/etc.?
Start early. Ideally, give the person three to four weeks, but never less than two weeks to complete the recommendation. Most faculty and staff are very busy and have numerous recommendations to write, so you want to be courteous. Plus, rushing them might lead to a recommendation that isn’t as polished or as positive as it could be.
If you are truly concerned about your recommendation being completed on time, and you have given your recommender ample time, consider doing one or all of the following:
Provide full information. Often, faculty and staff will need some specific information from you in order to write an effective recommendation. Help us help you. If you are requesting a recommendation from a CHP staff member, please provide all of the following information*:
• About the position/program/scholarship/etc.*
• About you*
*The information you provide should be correct, complete, up‐to‐date, and free from typos, misspellings, etc.
Be gracious. You need to say thank you and send a personalized thank you note to the individual who wrote your recommendation. (A handwritten note is often more deeply appreciated than an email.) That way, they will be more inclined to write you another recommendation if asked again.
Finally, let your recommender know if you got the job, the scholarship, admitted, etc. It is nice to let us know if our efforts were fruitful!
Begin now to create the contacts you need.
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