How to Ask for A Letter of Recommendation
Asking for a recommendation letter is not as difficult as people think. It depends on how you approach the issue. In this article, I will walk you through the process of asking for and receiving recommendation letters. Unlike a cover letter or statement of purpose, someone else writes this letter to your recruiter or prospective school. And in most cases, you cannot assess the letter because it is sent directly to them. But before we continue, why is a letter of recommendation very important?
A letter of recommendation is a third-party letter that your recruiters or schools ask you to get from your senior colleagues or superiors and in some cases, professors. This letter is historic because it serves as a validation of your resume. It is good to understand that you are the one that sends your resume to your recruiters. And resume is the concise details of your personal, educational, and professional experiences. Sometimes, people lie about their experiences so that they can get their dream job or school. So there is a need to validate the pedigrees as seen in the resume.
It is crucial to state that some schools or jobs have a peculiar template for letters of recommendation. In most cases, it looks like a questionnaire which means that answers are expected to be streamlined to the questions asked. Some questions may be directed to know your weakness and how it has been managed so far. It hinges on the wisdom of the person that you appointed to write the letter. Certainly, all human beings have some shortcomings, therefore the recruiters would expect to know your weakness. It will be a turnoff if there is none.
Apart from that, your weakness should not be detrimental to the position that you seek. For example, you cannot say that you are financially imprudent but you are looking for a position in the financial sector, or that you are a nymph when you seek a post in hospitality. You can rather say that you are a workaholic but have resolved to be religious with your break time.
Therefore, because this is a delicate assignment, you should look for a highly reliable person. You would not know how dependable he is until you had had series of encounters with him. Having encounters means that you are close to this person, close enough to predict what he can say about you in your absence. For corporations to ask for a letter of recommendation, it is a vital prerequisite to gaining a post in their domain.
The rule of thumb is that you should have a list of about five to ten people who can write a letter of recommendation for you. This is a sensible move if you are asked to get three letters. This is because man is fallible and may not submit the letter out of omission. So having as many options as possible will cushion the effects of aggression if one of them forgot to send his letter to the designated office.
Nevertheless, having numerous options is not the same as having quality options. It means that you need to critically choose people whose portfolios draw attention. For example, if you are looking for a post of financial analyst, and you have someone like Ray Dalio as your referee, it will draw so much positive attention. The reason is very simple, Ray is a household name in financial investment. His name is synonymous with the success of Bridgewaters. Your recruiter would respect Ray because he is very experienced and would know what qualities to look out for when seeking an additional hand in the field. It is the same if you want to go to a football academy and have Mourinho.
Once you have gotten the list of quality referees, seek an audience with each of them. You should know that they are busy and need a lot of patience from you. Be persistent enough to wait and seek their audience. Tell them what position you are eyeing and how important their letter would be in your journey to get there. If there is a template, show them what it looks like and encourage them by stating how easy and fast it would be for them. Offer assistance if needed and be ready to answer their questions because they would ask.
You should then send a formal letter requesting a letter of recommendation to anyone who agrees. You should serve as ocean waves to the ship which this referee will sail. You will do this by obviously stating your prospective position, your former experiences that are related to the position, your achievements, your mission, and your statement. You can also go as far as writing about your future goals and aspirations in the prospective field. Some people would advise you to send your resume with a formal letter. In addition to that, it will be nice to also attach photocopies of your credentials to the referee. All these things will help your referee to articulate a profound letter of recommendation without shrouding you in mysteries.
Do not forget to include the final date of submission in your request letter. If you had done all things well but without a timeline, it is as good as nothing. In most cases, you should give a referee at least two weeks before the deadline. Within this time, keep reminding him to send the letter. Remember that the letter is usually submitted directly to the prospective school or employer. So, it is good if you find a means of knowing when he submits the letter. Some corporations would tell you that a letter has been submitted but if such is not peculiar here, call to check. This will save you the anguish of regret that comes with assumptions.
It will be great if all the ten referees sent their recommendations for it will add weight to your profile. Nevertheless, get the exact number of recommendations which they asked for. Do not get below the requested number. Write out the name of referees that have sent their recommendation and send them appreciation letters. It will be nice if you visit them like you did when you are seeking their help.
Finally, hope for the best as you expect to be called soon.