At some point you will want to request a letter of recommendation from one of your Professors. Here are some tips that you should consider before you do so.[source: the original idea was on a poster I saw at Tulsa Community College, Oklahoma, but I have added advice from others too]
- Compile all your materials (see below) before approaching anyone for a letter.
- Ask the Professor at least three weeks before you need the letter in person and follow up with an email confirming that they agreed to do it.
- Remind the Professor how they know you. Were you in one of their classes? Were you in a lab? Did you have some special connection to this Professor?
- If you were in their classes, tell them what grade you got. Don’t make them look it up (they will!)
- If you were particularly engaged by something in the class (e.g. an assignment, class presentation, or idea), tell them.
- Explain why you think this Professor would be a good candidate to write you a letter. e.g. you have a previous relationship, they are known in the field, etc.
- Explain why you want the position you are applying for and why you think you are qualified!
- If you did not hear that the Professor sent a letter, send a polite email reminder one week before the deadline.
- When you do hear that the letter has been sent, send a thank you email to the Professor for their time and effort.
Things to compile and either bring as hardcopies or email to the Professor. Note, I prefer an email with a (if possible) single PDF attachment.
- Summary of the position: What is the title, company, and what is the email or website that I will need to send the application to?
- “Brag sheet” with information about you. This should be separate from your resume and should list the things (e.g. as bulllets) that distinguish you from all the other students.
- Start with our interactions: which classe(s) did you take from me and what grades did you get? (Remember that I can and will check that out. Don’t, as someone tried once, tell me that you got an A when you barely passed the class. That will make it to your letter!)
- Tell me what excites you about the job and why?
- Tell me what else is amazing about you that I can put in the letter
- Explain what you think you want to do next in your career
- Summary of your information:
- where are you in your school career (e.g. sophmore, just about to graduate, etc etc)
- your contact information
- Resume. Send me your resume that you send to the job
- be sure to highlight a favorite or appropriate class that relates to the job
- be sure to include your overall and major GPA (and SDSU GPA if you wish). It will save me looking it up!
- Other relevant information that can help me craft the awesome letter that will help you land the job.