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The 3-Step Process of Getting a Letter of Recommendation

Chances are that when you graduate you will need to get a letter of recommendation from one of your instructors. Whether you use it to help you land your first job in a new career, or to help you round off your post-grad university or college applications, a letter of recommendation can be just the extra boost you need.

The tricky part comes in actually getting a letter of recommendation.  Whether you’re taking a business, design, or an ESL class, or if you’re enrolled in Personal Support Worker training, students in any program should make getting a letter a priority before graduation.

Here are a few tips to make requesting (and getting!) a letter of recommendation a lot easier:

1. It’s okay to ask! The first step is probably the hardest step. Asking an instructor for a letter can seem like you’re asking for a huge favor, but this isn’t true at all. Generally speaking, teachers and instructors expect to get these kinds of requests. It’s part of their job! The same goes for your manager or supervisor in a workplace setting. So brush off the shyness and go ahead and ask.

2. Point to something you did well.  If you’ve asked for a letter of recommendation, but you’re still feeling shy, you can help move the process forward by helping them recall a place where you performed well. For example, if you’re looking for work after getting your Office Administration diploma, you can point to your above average keyboarding skills. Or, if you’re almost done your healthcare training, you can point out your high exam scores or your excellent class presentation.

3. Follow up. Every time you’re going to use your reference, call the place you got it from to be sure that all the contact information is still up to date. For extra results, if you have a particularly good reference, you can even do small touches like sending an annual holiday card. Lastly, take the time to send a thank you card to the person who wrote you a letter. Showing gratitude for their time will really let the whole experience come full circle.

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