Best Way to Get a Letter of Recommendation

  •           You’re applying/or a job.
  •           You’re getting your college application ready.
  •           You’re trying to get an internship.

You might need to get a letter of recommendation … or two . . . or three. You might be required to get the recommendation from a teacher, from another employer, or just from someone who knows you.

Letter of Recommendation Best Way to Get a Letter of Recommendation

Helynna Brooke is the executive director of the San Francisco Mental Health Board. She’s written many letters of recommenda­tion, and has some advice on how to snag some good ones:

Choose someone who knows you, at least a little. Of course it’s a good idea to choose someone who knows you a bit. Sometimes people get asked to write a recommendation for some­one they hardly know. This is tricky because they not only might not know what to say, but they may not even be sure they want to recommend you.

Tell the person his or her opinion is valuable to you. When we want something like a recommendation, often we are nervous or uncomfortable because we’re asking someone else for their comments or feelings about us. What we forget is that our re­quest honors the person we are asking. We’re saying to them that we value their opinion and who they are, that their recommenda­tion is valuable.

And that’s a good way to ask for a letter of recommendation: “I really have a lot of respect for you as a teacher and it would mean a lot to me if you would write me a recommendation for . . . (col­lege/a job/whatever it is).”

Ask if you can help prepare the letter. Ask if the person would like you to write some of the things you would like to have highlighted in your recommendation letter. This may help them write it more easily and quickly. In fact, sometimes a person might respond to your request by asking you to write the letter for them. This is hard to do because it is hard for any of us to write a brag­ging letter about ourselves. When I’ve had to do that I usually sit down with a parent or really good friend and have that person help me.

Send a thank-you note. After a person agrees to write you a recommendation, send them a thank-you note. It can be just two sentences:

“Thank you so much for writing a letter of recommendation for me for___. It meant a lot to me.

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