Similar to the testimonials you see on infomercials or on products advertised in a magazine or the store, listing your professor as a reference is a powerful resource to have when you begin applying to jobs or for grad school.
Unless you’re working off of commission, 9 out of 10 times the company you apply to will request a letter of recommendation or a reference to verify your abilities and work ethic. Most students tend to overlook requesting a letter of recommendation from their professor. Whether it’s an academic counselor, student teacher, your coach or a professor – securing your references early on is a great way to establish a professional network of individuals who will help you “win” whatever goal your hoping to achieve.
Following the steps below will do just that…
#1: Select A Source:
Write out a list of your professors and/or student teachers that you know you can request a recommendation from. I’d recommend selecting a professor or teacher whose class you have a grade of B or higher in. Anything less than that may not be a good resource for you to rely on. Professors and teachers will be more likely to help students who take their classes seriously. I also recommend selecting a professor or teacher who you communicate with often.
#2: In Person:
If you’re hoping to have your college professor write you a letter of recommendation, start with asking him or her in person. Though not all columnists advise this, establishing the request in person is polite and it also sets the stage for informing them of what it’s for (ex: job, grad school, etc.). That way, they’re aware of how important it is to you and when you need it by if there is a deadline.
#3: In Writing:
Follow up with your resource a day or two after you’ve discussed the letter of recommendation with them. Writing them an email can work in one of two ways: 1) It’s a formal request that can be tracked and 2) It will prompt them as a reminder about the conversation you had.
#4: Follow Up:
Once you’ve received your letter of recommendation, be sure to send your resource a thank you card and/or email. Maintaining your connections is invaluable and expressing gratitude whenever possible reinforces your relationship with that person.
#5: Round 2:
If you get accepted, write to them and let them know. Acknowledging your reference for their help once again reinforces your relationship. Besides, you may need their help again so be sure to stay in touch.
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