Recommendation letters may be a significant element of your application materials. When obtaining and sending letters of reference, there are various best practices you can follow to ensure those you include add value to your application.
You should ideally request a letter of reference at least four weeks before the deadline, with two weeks being the very minimum.
It is OK to ask with less than two weeks’ notice if there are mitigating circumstances and you have a solid connection with the individual you are asking.
What Is A Letter Of Recommendation?
A recommendation letter is a written endorsement of a candidate’s talents, abilities, expertise, and previous performance.
When applying for admission to academic programs, internships, and grant programs, candidates must often provide letters of reference as part of their application materials.
Candidates may also send these letters while applying for professional positions, depending on the specific requirements of the company.
Individuals that can attest to a candidate’s abilities and competences, such as instructors, advisers, professors, mentors, and previous employers, often compose these letters upon request and submit them as a recommendation for admission or hiring.
Letters of recommendation can contain a broad range of information, based on criteria such as a candidate’s connection with their recommender, the program or post to which they’re applying, and if they’ve previously demonstrated their ability.
Recommenders may write about a candidate’s specific knowledge, personality attributes, soft and hard abilities, participation in certain activities, accolades, or accomplishments.
This sort of data can help a candidate’s application and indicate their suitability for a certain program or career.
How Long Does It Take To Write A Letter Of Recommendation?
Allow enough time for your references to compose a cohesive and engaging letter that serves as a favorable witness to your talents as a candidate.
Request letters of recommendation at least three weeks before the application’s due date. It may be ideal to give references two to four months to complete your request so that they may make arrangements in their schedules and devote adequate time to the assignment.
Never put someone in a position where they must write a letter of recommendation at the last minute. It will be an unfair demand on them, and they will be unable to invest the time and resources that a successful document requires.
You will not be placing pressure on yourself or them to meet artificial objectives in this manner.
Asking For A Letter Of Recommendation
The first step in getting a letter of recommendation is to determine the best time to do so. Even for experienced instructors and counselors, writing each individual letter takes time and thought.
It is best to contact your recommenders at least a month before the application deadline.
When it comes to reference letters, teachers prefer to request them 6 weeks to 3 months in advance. Remember that the less time you allow a professor to send you a letter, the more probable it is that they will decline your request.
Who To Ask
First, think about who you can approach to give you a recommendation letter. This may vary depending on the sort of application you submit and where you are in your career.
If you are a student seeking admission to an academic program or an internship, you should consider having a prior instructor, professor, or adviser write you a recommendation letter.
Make a list of those you’d want to have as possible recommenders. Now, sort those names by who you believe will send you the strongest letter and who has the greatest professional status for the programs you’ve chosen.
Consideration of a recommender’s position in the field you intend to enter is critical, yet it is usually disregarded.
How To Ask
If you’re going to inquire by email, don’t send the identical message to all of your possible recommenders at once.
If they all answer yes, go through your list of preferences one by one. If you get a no early on, you’ll have time to reconsider your approach before moving on to the next person on the list.
Reach Out To References
You can request a recommendation letter by contacting your reference through email or phone. Explain the context of your application, including the sort of school or position you’re seeking for, so the reference understands the circumstance.
When making your request, it’s also a good idea to thank your reference and express how much their approval means to you.
If a reference approves your request for a letter, make sure you supply them with all of the necessary information.
Send them your CV and other facts about your experiences, accomplishments, and talents so they may include them in their letter.
With this information, your recommender can give a more complete and accurate picture of your talents, which may help your candidacy.
Send A Reminder
It might be beneficial to send a reminder to your references prior to the application deadline to ensure they do not forget about their commitment to write you a letter.
Send a reminder one week before your application is due to provide your reference time to recover if they do forget.
Remember to convey your appreciation to your references whenever you speak with them and get their recommendations, so they know you value their work.
Express Your Gratitude
A simple thank you note may mean a lot to anybody, especially someone who has dedicated his or her career to educating and guiding others.
Include a phrase or two expressing your gratitude for not only the letter but also for increasing your learning experience. When you show your thanks with a handmade note, your legacy will last longer.
Depending on numerous factors, the time it takes to actually write a letter of recommendation can vary from a few minutes to a few hours or even days.
This does not take into consideration the fact that professors, managers, etc. are usually very busy and already have a lot on their plate.
This is why it is important that you give them a big notice period as it not only reflects well on you, but will also give you a letter of recommendation that has been carefully thought out and not rushed which could ultimately cost you the job or internship.