Submitting a great letter of recommendation from a relevant authority figure – even when not prompted to do so – is a great way to separate your job application from the rest of the pack.
Why is a letter of recommendation important?
- Submitting it shows you took the extra time and effort needed to procure one.
- It provides an instant third-party verification of your credentials. After all, a letter of recommendation is someone else putting their reputation on the line for you.
- It makes the hiring manager curious to know more about you.
How to ask for a letter of recommendation
- Select who should write the letter – not all letters of recommendation are created equal. Ideally, the person who writes your LoR should know you personally as well as professionally, so as to be able to speak to your character, professionalism, and integrity. If you are a college student, this person could be a professor with whom you have spent significant time. If you are a professional, seek out a senior or a boss you worked closely with.
- Help them help you – The letter of recommendation should not be generic and should touch upon those aspects of your personality and professional behaviour that make you a good fit for the role. Make a list of such points and share them with the person who is writing the LoR. Suggest to them that including these points would help make the LoR work strongly in your favour. Make it easy for them to help you.
- Thank the writer – Show the person that you are thankful for their help and assistance. Make sure to thank them at the end. Keep them updated about the status of your application. People like to know that their contribution helped.
Remember, most job applications won’t explicitly ask for a letter of recommendation.
But sending one in nevertheless will immediately improve your chances.