E-mails requesting a letter of recommendation for graduate school applications, jobs, or internships should be polished and well-constructed. Follow the pointers below to help compose an e-mail that will make a good impression on a former or current instructor.
- Request letters from instructors who know you beyond attendance in a class and are likely to remember you, if you took the class more than a year earlier.
- Write in a conversational yet professional tone.
- Use a proper salutation, such as Dear Professor Sandoval or Dear Dr. Wilson, if the instructor has a doctorate.
- Include a photo to help the instructor recall who you are and a copy of the job/internship description if applying for a position.
- Provide all the information the professor will need to write the letter including: (a) memory jog of the class you took, which term, grade received, classroom participation, and any specific interactions you had with the instructor; (b) current résumé; (c) explanation of the reason for the letter; (d) when and how the letter is to be submitted. Note: never assume a quick turnaround. Professors are busy. Give the instructor two to four weeks to compose the letter.
- Thank the instructor for taking the time to write a letter in a sincere fashion by avoiding cloying clichés such as “Because I learned so much from your class… “
Your task. Analyze the request for a letter of recommendation below. Then rewrite it using your own situation.
Howzit? I hope you had an awesome time on that trip you talked to us about in class! Since you were one of my favorite profs EVER 😊I was hoping you’d write me a letter of rec for this job I’m applying for. I really loved your class and learned so much in it. I need the letter like really soon, so if you could send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of this week, that would be really cool! Call me at 509-667-3422 if you need anything.
Thanks for your help!