Mistakes to avoid when asking for a letter of recommendation!
When asking for a letter of recommendation, it is important to remember that the person writing the letter is doing you a favor. As such, there are certain mistakes to avoid to ensure that the letter is of the highest possible quality and that the writer is happy to write it. First, avoid asking too late. Letters of recommendation are time–consuming to write, and the writer needs time to carefully compose a quality letter. Ask for a recommendation at least three or four weeks before the due date, or even further in advance if possible. Letting the writer know your deadlines ahead of time allows them to better plan their time so they can provide you with a thoughtful, detailed letter. Second, avoid asking someone who doesn’t know you well. A letter of recommendation should come from someone who can speak to your skills, abilities, and character. The person writing the letter should have knowledge of your work and personal qualities so they can provide a meaningful, honest assessment. Make sure to ask someone who can speak to your qualifications, such as a supervisor, mentor, or professor. Third, avoid asking someone who is not willing to write a positive letter. It is important to ask someone who can honestly recommend you. While it is natural to feel uncomfortable asking for a letter of recommendation, it is important to remember that the writer should be willing to provide an honest and positive assessment of your skills and accomplishments. If you feel that the writer will not be able to provide an accurate or favorable letter, it is best to ask someone else. Fourth, avoid assuming that the writer knows what is expected. Be sure to give the writer a clear overview of the purpose of the letter, the program or job you are applying for, and what makes you a good fit. Provide the writer with your resume and any other relevant materials, such as a list of your accomplishments and any awards or recognitions you have earned. This will give the writer the necessary information to provide a well–written, detailed letter. Finally, avoid forgetting to thank the writer. It is important to show your appreciation to the person who is taking time out of their day to write you a letter of recommendation. Make sure to thank them in person and follow up with a thank you card or note after you have received the letter. By avoiding these mistakes when asking for a letter of recommendation, you can ensure that you receive a quality letter that accurately reflects your skills and accomplishments. Taking the time to do things right will ultimately lead to a strong letter that will help you stand out in the competitive job or academic application process.
For another perspective, we asked Judge Josh at Outlaw Student the same question — here’s what he said: https://www.outlawstudent.com/2010/04/recommendation-letter-mistakes/