4 Ways to Get Killer Letters of Recommendation
Steve Berman | HRPeople
March 21, 2011
2. Contact the people you’ve decided would do the best job
This seems obvious, but can be a tough point to hurdle in the process if it’s been a long time since you’ve been in touch. Contact them in person or via telephone if possible, as it’s generally tougher for people to say no when actually speaking with you.
If it’s a former professor whose information you’ve lost, contact the school. Often they’ll have forwarding information for past professors. If that doesn’t work, or you’re trying to contact someone you worked with who has since changed jobs, Google them. You’d be surprised how easy it is to find people these days with an Internet connection and a search engine.
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3. Make the letter writer’s job easier
Getting someone to write a letter of recommendation for you is essentially selling yourself to someone in order to get him or her to sell you to someone else. With any sales job, it’s best to make it as easy as possible for your client — the person writing the letter — to say yes.
Just asking someone to write a letter for you is not the way to go. While the person you ask may have written several before, they’re undoubtedly busy and don’t want to spend hours thinking of what to write. Before contacting to the person, have a list of accomplishments you’d like to highlight. Examples include projects you received a good grade on in school if you’re speaking with a professor, or important accomplishments at work you received praised for.
Be polite, and if the person agrees, shower them with appreciation. You want the person writing this letter to be enthusiastic about you and what you represent.