When applying for graduate or professional school, admission departments will typically request letters of reference. These letters, also known as recommendation letters, are a key piece of your professional career portfolio.
- It is best to request letters of reference 6-8 weeks before the date that you need the letter(s), to allow plenty of time for them to be completed thoughtfully and thoroughly.
- Employers and graduate/professional schools use these documents to gain the perspective of others that have worked in a professional capacity with you.
- Some individuals you may want to have write you a reference letter include professors, supervisors, or other individuals that are aware of your strengths, personality, and professional attitude.
- It may be best to request letters of recommendation in writing, such as e-mail, in order to provide a written reminder of your request.
- As needed, follow-up with these individuals in a professional manner to ensure that you receive the letters in time to send or provide.
- Be sure to follow the instructions and guidelines that the employer, institution, and/or program has given regarding the submission of reference letters.
- Some individuals may want you to bring the letters with you to an interview, while others may want them mailed prior to meeting you. Most individuals will request that letters of reference be provided in a sealed envelope.
If an individual you are requesting to write a reference letter for you needs assistance in preparing the document, you can have them contact us.