Many organizations and graduate schools require references or letters of recommendation with their applications. The structure of these documents vary. For example, your references may sometimes need to mail a letter or they may need to fill out a form online.
The following tips will help you as you prepare to ask for references or letters of recommendation:
- Be thoughtful when considering references. These should be individuals who can speak to your strengths, talents, and/or successes in multiple areas. Some people, such as family members, are not appropriate to ask.
- No surprises! Ask the individuals to be references and provide them upfront with the information they will need.
- Have a conversation with your references about which strengths and experiences you are hoping to highlight. These may vary from reference to reference in order to give a well-rounded impression to the reviewers.
- If letters or reference forms need to be mailed, give your references the materials they will need. This includes an addressed envelope that is ready to be mailed with a postage stamp.
- Remember your organization skills! Keep track of how many recommendation letters or references you need for which positions/programs, deadlines, and methods of delivery.
- Give your references plenty of time, especially if there is a specific deadline. Be considerate of your references’ schedule.
- Send your reference a thank you note! Remember to send or deliver these notes promptly, within a week of the deadline.
By planning ahead and being respectful of your references time you will ensure success with these easy steps.