How to Ask for Reference Letters

December 5, 2019
Hunting for a new job or applying to a college are not easy tasks. There are many steps of the process that can seem complicated or even intimidating. Hunting for a new job or applying to a college are not easy tasks. There are many steps of the process that can seem complicated or even intimidating. Our team has created guides to improve your resume and your cover letter, but now we’re extending beyond the initial job hunt to include references. How do you request a letter of recommendation for a job, scholarship, or when you join an organization? We’ve got the answers.

Who Should I Ask?

This is a great question to start with, because a lot of people feel like they don’t know the best strategy when it comes to letters of recommendation. Our tip is to ask someone who is not one of your references. This is because many people have days that are packed with obligations and activities. Asking someone to be your reference, as well as to provide a letter of recommendation, can put a lot of pressure on one person. Additionally, employers and schools want to hear about you from a variety of people. When your references are different from your contacts for letters of recommendations, you demonstrate how wide your network is and reinforce your great traits.

How Should I Ask?

The specific way that you ask for a letter of recommendation depends on you, your industry or area of study, and your relationship with the person writing the letter. As a general rule, it can be useful to send an email to the person in question, because they can refer to it in the future if they forget anything. When you write to your connection, be sure to include a few things in your letter, such as:• When you need the letter of recommendation by• If there is a word or page limit or minimum that they need to be aware of• A few things you would like them to highlight in their letter• If you are using this letter for any specific reason (i.e. applying to college, applying for a specific job, etc.) When you ask your contact to write this letter, it’s a good idea to tell them at least a little about which skills or projects you would like them to highlight. That way you can be sure the letter you receive fits what you need it for.

When Should I Ask?

Letters of recommendation can take a while to write. Make sure to give your contact at least a week to write it, but the more time you can give them, the better. If you’ll be graduating from high school soon, or if you know you’ll be job hunting in the near future, it might be a good idea to reach out to your contacts now. That way, you can give them plenty of time to write a great letter of recommendation for you. The BCVision team is dedicated to developing the workforce and fostering talent development in Battle Creek. We are happy to provide assistance and resources, whether you’re looking for a job, applying to a college, or want to further your education to move up in your career. Contact us for more information.