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In this short course, Kelley School of Business lecturer and author Judy Steiner-Williams shows you the elements of a strong recommendation letter and how to use specificity to make your remarks memorable and relevant. At the end of the course, you'll also see how to ask for a recommendation if you need someone to write one for you.
Asking for a recommendation can sometimes be as intimidating as writing one. So, let's discuss how you can request a recommendation in a way that will increase your chances of getting that coveted recommendation letter. First, be sure you do ask. Never assume that someone will automatically write one for you. Effectively written recommendation letters take time and effort. Second, ask in a positive way. I know you are really busy and probably don't have time to do this, but would you write a recommendation for me? Or, you may not remember working with me on that two week project last year, but I can't find anyone else to write a recommendation for me, so will you? Those are not requests that will make the person eager to help you.
Try, I really value your opinion and I have learned so much from you in the three years I've worked here. Because we've worked closely on the sales team for the past year, you know my work ethic and team strengths. I would really appreciate your writing a recommendation letter for me. Or, as my supervisor, you've seen my growth during the past three years. I appreciated your trust in me last year when you accepted my idea to revise the report process. Would you be willing to write a recommendation for me? Third, be sure to give the person all the relevant information.
A copy of the job requirements, the name and addresses of the person who should receive the information, and enough lead time to get the recommendation written. A copy of your current resume would also be helpful. So, increase your chances of getting that recommendation by asking directly, in a positive way, and by providing all necessary information. Good luck.
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