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Asking for Reference Letters

How to ask for a reference letter

It is important to do well in college for the obvious reason of obtaining your degree so you can move on and make your fortune. It is also important because a letter of recommendation from a former professor can go a long way in opening an employment door.

When you are beginning your professional career, you obviously donít have a great deal of work experience that can help you on a resume. This is where a reference letter from a college professor can be very beneficial.

What is the best way to go about obtaining that reference letter? Which professors are your best options for this? Here are some tips to help you in getting the best reference letters to help you in your job search:

1. Choose the right professor(s)
Knowing which professor to ask for your reference letter is vital in making it as effective as possible. The best option is one who is the dean of your area of study, or one who taught the classes that were significant in your major. This may not always be possible, however, because you may not have an ideal relationship with them or they may not be the most eloquent of writers. Letters from professors with whom you were involved in extracurricular projects can also be beneficial because they were able to see you as more than a student.

2. Give them as much information as possible
When asking for your reference letter, be sure to give your professor as much information as possible so they know how to tailor the letter to your needs. Give them details about the company and position for which you are applying. It is also a good idea to send the professor a copy of your resume so they can see your professional objective and strengths. Be sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your reference letter request. This will make it easier for the professor to complete your request. You can get the letter electronically, but it is also a good idea to have it in a hard-copy form.

3. Follow up with the professor
In addition to sending a thank-you letter to the professor, make sure to update them on your job search when you hear any news. Even if you donít get the job, it is good to let your professor know the status. If they care enough to give you a letter of recommendation, then they need to be updated on your job search results.