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Letter of Recommendation

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation
Tips for Writing a Letter of Recommendation
Letter of Recommendation Template
Letter of Recommendation for Scholarship
How to Request for Letter of Recommendation
Reference Letter Format
Free Sample Letter of Recommendation

How to Request a Reference Letter

A letter of reference is a written recommendation for prospective employers or graduate schools to attest to your ability to perform in a job or academic setting. It is written by someone who is familiar with your skills and can speak to those skills in a professional manner.

Who should be your references?

  • Professors
  • Former or current employers (full time, part time, or summer jobs)
  • Internship site and work/study supervisors
  • Coaches
  • Advisors to organizations in which you have been an active member.

** It is usually inadvisable to choose neighbors or close family friends to serve as references.

What materials should you provide to your reference writers?

  • The type of reference you need (for employment, graduate school, etc.) and YOUR deadline date (not necessarily the due date)
  • A copy of your resum´┐Ż
  • Non-academic background: organizations in which you actively participate, sports, hobbies, community work, social involvement, study abroad experiences, etc.
  • A history of your academic achievements, including your overall GPA, GPAs in your major, and minor if applicable

Additional information to assist the reference writer:

  • If the reference writer is a professor, a list of courses/independent studies taken with that person (including dates taken, grades earned, projects completed, papers written, oral presentations, etc.)
  • If the reference writer is a work/study or internship site supervisor, list the dates worked, the type of work you performed, including major projects and any special skills you learned while there
  • If the reference writer is a coach or advisor to an organization in which you played an active role, provide them with the dates and any particular skills you utilized or leadership roles you held

When should you ask your reference writers to write letters for you, and how many references do you need?

  • The sooner the better.
  • Most likely, you will need at least three, and possibly up to five references. Even if you only end up needing three, it is great to have five to choose from for any particular position.

Confidential vs. open references:

You have the option of choosing whether the letters of recommendation are open or closed. Open means that you have access to the letters and can see what has been written. Closed letters are confidential. Once you decide to have a confidential letter, you may not see it or have access to it under any circumstances. Most students choose to keep their letters open so they can review them before the letters are sent out to employers or graduate schools

Next: Letter of Reference for Graduate School

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