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A letter of recommendation, or a letter of reference, is a letter written on your behalf by someone close to you. This person may be a previous or current employer, an instructor, a close friend, relative, or another individual who knows you personally. The letter will discuss your qualities and capabilities relevant to the purpose of the letter. Letters of recommendation are often written for employment purposes, admission to an academic institution or program, or scholarship opportunities.

  1. Consider who you will ask to write the letter.

    More often than not, you will need more than one letter of recommendation. Consider the recipient when you choose who will write the letter. For example, if you just finished your academic program and you are applying for a job, you could ask an instructor you worked closely with as a student. Select an individual who knows your skills and will portray you positively.

  2. Give your writer adequate time to finish and submit the letter.

    If you know you need a letter of recommendation at the end of the semester, do not wait until the last week of class to ask an instructor to write a letter for you.

  3. Provide the writer with all of the necessary information they will need.

    For example, if you are applying for a job, explain the nature of the job and the work environment. This will allow the writer to make specific statements regarding how you are a good candidate for the position.

  4. Provide the writer with the instructions for submitting the letter.

  5. Thank your writer!

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