When applying for a job or graduate program, you may be asked to present a letter of recommendation via email from a previous employer.
An effective recommendation letter can differentiate you from other candidates and increase your chances of being hired.
Therefore a letter of recommendation is an important part of your job application and it can go a long way in getting you your dream job.
In this blog post, we are going to discuss what a recommendation letter is, how to request a recommendation letter via email and an email template for asking for a letter of recommendation.
What is a Recommendation Letter?
A letter of recommendation is a type of letter that is usually written by someone who can recommend or testify about an individual's work or academic performance, also known as a letter of reference.
It is a testimonial from a trustworthy source about your work ethic, skills, performance, as well as achievement.
It describes a person's qualifications and skills as they relate to their employment or education and they can come from previous employers, professors, teachers, etc.
The goal of a recommendation letter is for advocacy, to have one or more people discuss the qualities and capabilities that make an individual a good fit for a job or college admission.
A letter of recommendation is usually sent to an employer who is deciding whether to hire a candidate for a job.
Tips for Requesting a Recommendation Letter from Your Employer
Although the organization, company, university, or college you are applying to might contact your recommenders, you are still expected to contact them directly to inform them about the process.
Let's say you are in another state or country and you want a recommendation letter from your former boss and you want to do it via email.
How do you go about it? What steps do you take?
1. Choose Your Recommenders or Reference Carefully
As a graduate student or job applicant, you should know that it is not everybody that can write a recommendation letter for you.
This means that you need to narrow down your search to people that know you and know your individual talent and skills.
It is best to create a 3 to 6 list of individuals best suited to write you a recommendation letter so that if one says no you can always ask another.
While you might want someone who is highly influential or someone at the peak of their career, if they don't know you they can't write you a good letter.
It is best to contact people that know you and your ability, like your supervisor at your college or a previous employer.
These are people that you have worked with and they know your capabilities and would be able to write the letter in proportion to your skill and individual talent.
Getting a generic letter of recommendation could ultimately hurt your chances of getting the job or admission.
2. Make Sure You Ask Early
Don't wait until a week or 2 weeks before the deadline before asking your recommenders to write you a letter.
It is best to send your request for a recommendation at least 2 months before the actual deadline.
This way, your recommenders will have enough time to properly prepare and write a great recommendation letter.
3. Provide the Necessary Details They Might Need
Although the organization or company might send some information to your recommenders, they won't send personal information about you.
It is your job to send your recommenders the necessary details they might need like your Curriculum Vitae and other information you think might be relevant to them to write you a good recommendation letter
4. Use a Polite Tone
No matter how close you are to your recommenders, you should use a polite and professional tone when asking them for a recommendation letter.
Remember they are under no obligation to write you a recommendation letter, so tread carefully.
Don't write in all Caps, avoid using flattery and write in full, avoid using abbreviations.
Go straight to the point mentioning the purpose of the letter and the deadline.
Asking for a Recommendation Letter Via Email
1. Introduce Yourself
It is logical to assume that you are likely going to get a positive response if your employer remembers you.
At the beginning of your email, make sure you introduce yourself by stating some things you know your former employer will remember about you.
2. Keep it Short and Straight to the Point
In this 21st century, nobody likes reading long emails, and employers, professors are busy people who receive hundreds of emails a day.
They might ignore you if you write a lengthy email full of unnecessary information and excruciating detail.
The goal of your email is to get them to agree to write you a recommendation letter.
Therefore, you need to go straight to the reason why you are writing them and be brief about it.
3. Be Prepared for a NO
Despite your efforts, your employer may decline to write you a letter of recommendation.
This could be because they are unhappy that you’re leaving to pursue a different job or they were not satisfied with your performance at work, among other reasons.
Although you can inquire why they did not write you the letter, you should not try to persuade them or convince them to write the letter.
If your employer declines to write you a letter, remain polite and write to them telling them you understand the reason and thank them for considering your request.
5. Remember to Send a Thank You Note
Sending your appreciation is a common courtesy that lets your recommenders know you are thankful for their gesture, and will likely ensure their participation in your success in the future.
Email Template for Asking for a Letter of Recommendation
Dear Mr. Dalton, I am writing this letter to you because I am applying for a new position as the head social media manager at Kent industries. Part of the application process is to provide letters of recommendation and I would appreciate it if you could write one for me. Working with you at Dalton’s industries has been a great privilege and opportunity for me to learn from you when we worked together on the international coaching federation (ICF) social media account and worked together to create and design Kiyoko’s motors website. With this in mind, I think you would be a great person to vouch for my skills in the area of social media marketing. I am currently working as a content writer and this new job is closely related but will require the graphics design and digital marketing skills I developed while working with you. I will attach my current resume and the job ad to this email for you to review and if you have any other questions, I will be happy to answer them. The deadline for submitting the letter is May 15, 2021. I know you are busy, so if this is too soon, I completely understand. Please let me know as soon as possible if you are comfortable writing a letter like this for me. Sincerely, Jason Teague. Conclusion
When requesting a letter of recommendation, there are people you should not ask for a letter of recommendation from, these include your family members or friends.
It's also okay to expect a no from someone you're requesting a letter of recommendation from. This shouldn't cause any distress, simply move on to the next name on the list.