Tips for recommendation letters
- Who are you asking? Many people think, “well, if I ask everyone I know, there will be at least a few good recommendations.” The question you have to ask yourself is not a matter of whether or not you will receive a good letter of recommendation, but rather is this person trustworthy? Many companies will ask you for the contact information for that person who wrote the letter. Will they pick up the phone? Will they return the voice mail? These are the questions you need to ask so you can figure out who are the best people for you to use for your recommendation letters.
- What do you want them to say? I know…obviously, you want them to say you are the best. What specifically, though do you want them to say you are the best at? Let’s create some strategy here. Target specific people to say specific things about you. Maybe one person talks about that big project you worked on and ties it to your ability to meet deadlines and another person talks about creativity and your ability to think outside of the box. See where I’m going? Create a strategy!
- Enhance the strategy Now, that we have an idea of our strategy. Map it out. Let’s say you are going to talk to your old boss, Mary about the big project you worked on. Call her and tell her your game plan and what your expectations are of her. Ask for her a recommendation letter and that you would like it to specifically outline your ability to meet deadlines and that it should reference the big project.
- Don’t be afraid to grab the bull by the horns What does that mean!? Again, it depends on your level of expertise and where you are in your own career. Sometimes when you are asking people for letters of recommendation, they might respond that they are just too busy. While it may seem rude, it is very common. Instead of giving up or moving on, ask them if it is okay if you write one for them to approve. Tell them all they have to do is approve it, maybe make minor changes. What is easier than that?
These simple tips for recommendation letters are something you can begin working on immediately. Don’t forget, this also goes for LinkedIn. This is an easy way for you to boost your online presence.
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