How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation (+ Example Email Request) 
As a resigning employee, asking for a letter of recommendation (or sometimes referred to as a reference letter) from a current employer, colleague, supervisor, manager, or boss can be a great way to collect a helpful job application asset for the future. When leaving on good terms with a company, this provides the employer with a desire to write a strong letter and overall positive recommendation for future employment purposes.
Asking for a recommendation letter is a fairly simple process. It involves showing gratitude to the letter writer for their future efforts, providing the writer with goals or objectives for the letter, and setting a deadline for when the letter is required (helpful for medical school and college application purposes).
In most cases, recommendation letters are requested for professional purposes. Which alleviates the need to punctuate a deadline. When applying for an MBA program or other graduate school (sometimes referred to as “grad school”) needs, for example, providing the writer with the application deadline and application materials (like the application itself) can be useful.
Tip: To receive a “glowing letter of recommendation”, provide the letter writer with a few guidelines. Always address the reader by name in the greeting, use the CAR format (Challenge/Action/Results) and reference facts of the applicant versus subjective claims.
When asking the recommendation writer to provide insights into the letter. Here are some examples:
- Including test scores and school projects that admissions officers might appreciate.
- Including an extracurricular activity that showed leadership, promise, or drive.
- Previous employment experiences that show competencies, skills, and teamwork.
Depending on the type of recommendation request, these would be helpful guidelines to send to the recommendation writer for what the letter should contain.
Tip: Collecting multiple letters from professional references can be helpful for any job seeker.
Here are professionals who may be able to write a recommendation letter:
- A pastor or minister.
- A close family acquaintance.
- A previous manager, boss, or supervisor.
- A counselor or guidance counselor.
- A professor, teacher, or faculty member.
All of these individuals would be classified as a good “recommender” to ask for a letter of recommendation.
Tip: It can be useful to ask a professor for a letter of recommendation during their regularly scheduled office hours.
Recommendation letters can be useful for job seekers, students, and general professionals. They can be used to show a potential employer the worthiness of employment (competencies, skills, personal qualities, and meeting qualifications). Letters of recommendation can be useful for recent graduates who are applying for an internship program. And lastly for students who are applying for a graduate program, financial aid, a scholarship, or other admissions committee requirements.
Tip: If seeking a college recommendation letter, it’s best for students to ask for their letters of recommendation during junior year of their schooling. This can “beat the competition” when it comes to the other student body who may be requesting letters of recommendation from their teacher or other faculty. Students should provide their letter writers with their personal statement for college to help assist the writer in creating a great letter of recommendation.
How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation
Below are steps for job seekers and students to consider when asking for a letter of recommendation:
- Gather a list of professionals, professors, or faculty to request a letter from.
- Speak with each one over the phone or in person and request their positive letter of recommendation.
- Send them an email outlining objectives for the letter and any job application or college application details (including the deadline). Or a cover letter, resume, and other candidate information.
- Upon receiving the recommendation letter, send a thank you email for their time and effort.
Recommendation Letter Request Email Sample
Below is a sample letter request email. Job seekers and students should avoid writing a written request for a recommendation as it can take longer to receive the letter.
Email subject line: Recommendation Letter Request
Recommendation Letter Request Email Template
Below is an email template to request a recommendation letter.
Email subject line: Recommendation Letter Request
Recommendation Letter Templates
More recommendation letter resources.
- Letter of Recommendation for a Teacher
- Letter of Recommendation for a College Student
- Letter of Recommendation for a Coworker
- Letter of Recommendation for a Friend
- Letter of Recommendation for an Eagle Scout
- Letter of Recommendation for Graduate School
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