Asking someone to write you a recommendation letter is possibly one of the most awkward things there is to do in life- or at least it is in my opinion.
This is simply because you are essentially asking someone to brag about you in order to get something in return like a job or internship. Just this semester I have had to ask for four letters from four different people. Although I am perfectly confident in my academic standing and my extra curricular activities I always have this deep fear that the person I am asking is going to say no. I also find it challenging to ask people for recommendations in college because unlike in high school chances are that you have not had a certain professor more than once or twice and this is especially true if you are an underclassmen like me.
Here are some tips that I came up with to make that awkward “hey want to make me sound good” letter asking a little less painful:
1. Ask the person you want to write your recommendation letter in person. Although email is less painful as it is not face-to-face actually making the effort to ask them shows you are taking this seriously.
2. Once your recommendation letter writer has agreed to help you send them a thank you email expressing that you know they are doing you a favor.
3. In that email provide your resume so they know what to talk about and even offer suggestions as to what your strongest qualities are or what you think is the most important to highlight
4. Also within that email include a copy of the job description you are using the letter for so the person writing the letter does not have to guess about what is important to talk about and what is not. (but if you follow step 3 this should not be a problem to begin with)
5. Once the recommendation letter has been received once again pen or type a “thank you” because you never know when you will need another letter.
Writing recommendation letters does not need to be painful but always make sure you are thankful to the person that just did you a huge favor! This is because once you think about it- recommendation letters are like little essays and chances are that you are not your professors favorite subject to write about.