How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation Email (With Examples)

Lets face it – recommendation letters add spice to your resume. They offer a glimpse into your character, work ethic, and potential. Employers and admissions committees want more than just words on paper; they want assurance that youre the real deal. A well-crafted letter can highlight your strengths and potential contributions, making you stand out in a sea of applications.

But unfortunately, asking for a recommendation letter is awkward and nerve-racking. Its like shooting your shot with your crush; only your career is on the line instead of your love life.Â

According to a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey, 67% of employers consider a candidates recommendation letters when making hiring decisions. Thats right – more than half of employers weigh these letters heavily. Theyre not just checking boxes but digging for insight into who you are.

And its not just employers; the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) found that a strong recommendation letter can boost your chances of admission to graduate programs by a whopping 32%.

Enough with the scary statistics; were here to hold your hand through the anxiety of asking for recommendation letters. While were no love gurus, we are certified in all things professional development- including recommendation letters. Think of us as your genie in a bottle; well even tell you what to say!

Asking for a letter of recommendation can feel intimidating. But letters of recommendation are a normal part of applications for jobs, scholarships, schools, and other opportunities. With preparation and politeness, you can get great letters to help your chances of success.

I struggled with writing recommendation request emails when I first started applying to colleges. I worried about seeming pushy or bothersome But I’ve since asked for many recommendation letters for jobs and education programs Experience has taught me how to craft effective emails to get persuasive, detailed reference letters.

In this article I’ll explain who to ask, when to ask and exactly what to include in a letter of recommendation request email. I’ll share email templates and examples you can use. With preparation, you can get comfortable asking contacts for letters vouching for your skills and character.

Who Should You Ask for a Recommendation Letter?

Choose people who know you well professionally and can strongly endorse you. For college, good options are teachers, counselors, coaches, or employers. For jobs, ask managers or co-workers at places you’ve worked.

For college, prioritize teachers in subjects related to your major. Ask junior or senior year teachers who likely remember you well. High school counselors know about your overall achievements.

For jobs, managers directly overseeing your work make great recommenders. Co-workers with more experience than you can also endorse you credibly. Employers love managers from jobs similar to the ones you’re applying for.

Avoid asking family, friends, or acquaintances for recommendations unless specifically permitted. Schools and employers want objective, professional opinions on your qualifications.

When Should You Ask for a Recommendation Letter?

Ask for recommendation letters well before deadlines to give recommenders ample time. For college, request letters by the end of junior year or summer before senior year. For jobs, ask at least one month before application deadlines.

Last-minute requests rush recommenders and result in weaker letters. Give them at least one month to write thoughtful, detailed endorsements. Follow up politely if the deadline nears.

Don’t wait until you quit a job to ask a manager for a letter. Ask shortly before leaving so details of your work are fresh. The letter will be ready when you need it.

How to Ask for a Recommendation Letter Over Email

Follow these steps to request recommendation letters via email:

1. Ask In Person First

Before emailing your request, ask the recommender in person if they can write you a strong letter. Give context on the application and why you value their opinion. This allows them to decline gracefully if they don’t feel comfortable endorsing you.

2. Use a Clear Subject Line

The subject line should state it’s a recommendation request and include your name. For example: “Recommendation Request – John Smith”.

3. Say Who You Are

In the email’s opening, remind the recipient who you are and your relationship. Mention when and where you worked together and your role.

For a professor, note the class name, semester, and year. Jog their memory on your work for extra context.

4. Make Your Request

Next, formally ask them to write you a recommendation letter. Say what opportunity it is for and when the deadline is. Give instructions on how to submit the letter when it’s done.

Note why you asked this person specifically. Say if you believe their letter could highlight particular skills or experience of yours.

Thank them for considering the request and offer to provide more info. Attach an updated resume or LinkedIn profile to make writing easier.

5. Close With Gratitude

End by thanking them again for their time and consideration. Express your appreciation for their mentorship or for what you learned working together.

Sign off professionally with a formal closing like “Best regards” or “Sincerely”. Add your name and contact info so they can follow up with questions.

Recommendation Email Template

Use this template as a model to write your own professional recommendation request emails:

Subject: Recommendation Request – [Your Name]

Dear [name],

I hope you are doing well! I am writing to request a letter of recommendation from you for my application to [position/school/opportunity].

As you know, I [worked at/took classes with/volunteered with] you [from/during] [date/semester]. In that time as your [employee/student/mentee], I valued the opportunity to [work on/learn/develop] [skills or accomplishments].

I would greatly appreciate if you could write a letter recommending me for [position/school/opportunity]. I believe your perspective on my [qualities/achievements] would help my application.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions. I appreciate your support and would be grateful for your recommendation.

Best regards,
[Your name]
[Your contact info]

Recommendation Email Examples

Here are examples of emails asking a professor, advisor, co-worker, and former boss for a recommendation letter:

Asking a Professor

Dear Professor Matthews,

I hope your semester is going well! I was a student in your Psychology 101 course at State University last spring. I really enjoyed your lectures on cognitive behavioral therapy.

I’m planning to apply to Clinical Psychology Master’s programs this fall. I’d greatly appreciate if you could write a letter of recommendation for my graduate school applications. Your perspectives on my academic abilities would be very helpful for my candidacy.

Thank you for considering my request. Your class was one of my favorites at State! I appreciate your time and any recommendation you can provide.

John Smith
(123) 456-7890
[email protected]

Asking an Academic Advisor

Dear Ms. Thompson,

I hope you are having a great start to the semester! I wanted to reach out to request a letter of recommendation from you. I’m applying to transfer to the Nursing program at State University for next fall.

As my advisor for the past year, you’ve provided great guidance in choosing pre-requisite courses and preparing for my career goals. I would truly appreciate if you could recommend me based on my academic performance and interests.

Thank you for your time and for all your invaluable advice this past year. I look forward to hearing from you.

Mary Chen
(234) 567-8901
[email protected]

Asking a Coworker

Hi David,

I hope work has been going well! I wanted to reach out because I’m applying for a Product Manager role at Company X. I think your perspective as my teammate could be very valuable. Would you be willing to write a letter recommending me for the position?

We worked closely together on the customer research project last year. I think you could provide great insights into my research, analytical, and collaboration skills.

(345) 678-9012
[email protected]

Asking a Former Supervisor

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I hope you are doing well! I worked at Marketing Company under your supervision as a Marketing Assistant from 2015-2017. I wanted to reach out because I am applying for a Marketing Manager role at Adams Inc.

I think a recommendation from you on my previous marketing work would help me stand out. Your perspective on my writing, communication, and analytical abilities would be invaluable.

The recommendation letter deadline is March 31st. Please find attached a copy of my resume to assist you. Do not hesitate to contact me if any additional information would be useful!

Thank you for your time and consideration. I greatly appreciate your support.

Michael Brown
(456) 789-0123
[email protected]

Tips for Getting Great Recommendation Letters

Here are some top tips for getting persuasive, compelling recommendation letters:

  • Give at least one month’s notice before deadlines to allow proper time.

  • Provide your resume, transcripts, and job/application details to simplify writing.

  • Follow up politely if you haven’t heard back within 2 weeks before the due date.

  • Send handwritten or email thank you notes showing your gratitude.

  • Apply early so recommenders aren’t overwhelmed with requests around deadlines.

  • Ask early on in leaving jobs to get fresh, detailed recommendations.

  • If a potential

how to ask for a letter of recommendation email

B. Asking for a letter of recommendation


  • What should you includein your letter od recommendation request email?

 When you ask for a recommendation, provide the recommender with important information, such as the purpose of the recommendation letter, the specific program or opportunity youre applying for, relevant deadlines, and any key points youd like them to address.

  • Why are they the right person to recommend for you?

Dont forget to offer context. Whether you are a student or an intern, chances are your recommender has mentored many people. Remind your recommender about specific projects, assignments, or experiences you shared with them. This will help them recall your contributions and create a more personalized recommendation letter.

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation:

  • Who should you pick?

When selecting a recommender, opt for people who know you well and can speak to your academic performance, skills, character, and potential. Professors from classes where you excelled, supervisors from internships or part-time jobs, and mentors from extracurricular activities are all excellent options.Â

Before you even ask for a recommendation letter, its important to establish a strong relationship with your potential recommender. Engage in class discussions, attend office hours, and participate in relevant activities to ensure they know you beyond your academic performance.

We recommend you create a list of 5-10 individuals you want to ask in case only some are willing to. Avoid selecting family or close friends for this task. While they might be able to attest to youre ability to burp your ABCs or cook some mean pancakes, employers are more likely to think these recommendations are biased.

  • When should you ask?

Dont wait until the last minute to ask for a recommendation letter. Professors and mentors have busy schedules, so its important to give them ample time to write a thoughtful letter. Aim to ask at least 4-6 weeks before the deadline.

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation in an Email

How do I ask for a letter of recommendation?

A man is leaning back in a chair at a desk with a coffee mug and pen; there are papers in the background. There is a list titled “How To Ask for a Letter of Recommendation” and numbered steps: 1. Create a referral list of 5-10 individuals 2. Call each person on your list 3. Send a formal recommendation request 4.

What makes a good letter of recommendation?

“The best letter of recommendation is going to be from somebody who can say the most about you,” Amos said. If the person who you’ve asked to write a letter repeatedly reschedules your meeting to discuss your request, it’s time to look for alternative options.

Should you ask a senior person to write a letter of recommendation?

While a letter of recommendation from someone who’s high up the ladder can be impressive, make sure that you’re asking people who actually know you and your work. “Having a senior person write a generic letter of recommendation without any real knowledge of you and your skills will produce the opposite effect,” Padua says.

How do I write a recommendation request?

After confirming with your selected referrals, you should mail or email each one a personalized, formal recommendation request. In your request, you should include the following context for them to feel comfortable and prepared when writing your recommendation: 4. Send a thank-you for each recommendation

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