Your Most Pressing Recommendation Letter Questions Answered

October 6th, 2017 at 1:07am
Your Most Pressing Recommendation Letter Questions Answered

It’s that time of the year again, Fashionista/os! Whether you are preparing to apply for jobs, internships, or grad school, chances are that your application will ask you for at least one letter of recommendation. Who better to ask for a recommendation than those who have taught you all of the skills you know—your professors! I asked my professor everything you need to know to tackle your recommendation letter anxiety; here’s the inside scoop.

who to ask?

Think of the professors who know you best. They don’t necessarily have to be the professors you got the best grade from, but they should be able to play up your strengths. These would be the professors whose classes you actively participated in and showed a genuine interest in. Bonus points if there is a professor you talk with outside of class, too.

when to ask?

It is best to ask your professors for recommendation letters as soon as you think you might need them. Writing recommendation letters is part of a professor’s job, but it can take a while for them to complete them with all of their other duties as professors. Plus, some professors may be hit with several recommendation letter requests at once, so you want to make sure you are at the top of their list. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask.

PHOTO: Cassidy Clark

how to ask?

The best way to ask is to just ask. There is no need to beat around the bush or initiate small talk first. Be blunt, but be polite, too. Of course, there is the possibility that the professor could say no. If this is the case, don’t panic. Your professor will probably give you a reason why they have declined. Most likely, they just feel that they don’t know you well enough to write about you. That’s why it is so important to establish yourself within the classroom.

what is needed?

After you have asked and your professors have accepted your request, you need to gather your materials. Some professors may not require anything from you to write a recommendation letter, but others might so that they can discuss some items in your résumé, cover letter, or writing samples. If your professor requests these items, ask if they want them digitally or physically. If they say physically, try to keep all the items together by presenting them in a nice folder. This will ensure your items don’t get mixed up with those of other students.

PHOTO: Kenia Viezcas

Still nervous? Don’t fret. Just put on your boss-est blazer and power pumps, tell yourself all the reasons a professor would say yes, and ask! Professors want you to succeed; they will do their best to make sure you get to where you want to be.

Do you have any advice when it comes to asking for recommendation letters? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Featured photo by Michelle Sczcech.