Whether you are looking for college admission, a foreign scholarship, or a job, the recommendation letter might be mandatory in many situations. And these letters may be very relevant as students apply to graduate school or apply for scholarships.
Positive letters will make a huge difference, ensuring that students should undertake them with sincerity, competence, and integrity. But the question is how to get letters of recommendation if you don’t know anyone?
It may sound like a complex and challenging task if you have never tried it before. But it does not have to be!
Several useful techniques can actually help you to overcome this problem.
This article will guide you step by step on how to get letters of recommendation if you don’t know anyone?
We will also discuss some common do’s and dont’s so that you can get your recommendation letter confidently, which will bring you a step closer to your dream program, job, or scholarship.
The following are some of the ways to get a letter of recommendation.
Ask Someone Who You Do Know:
Asking someone who knows you increase the chances of a good letter tremendously.
Similarly, a person who knows you can describe you better than those who do not know you.
A recommendation letter’s basic idea is that it explains your overall personality and your track record.
That person will discuss your personality’s authentic traits, and as a result, you will get a targeted letter of recommendation.
A generic letter should be avoided; therefore, it is your best chance to contact someone who knows you.
A professor who is close to you will not only issue you a recommendation letter but will also write words that will prove crucial for your selection.
You can also tell the professor your exact requirements to match the position you are applying for.
Therefore, it is a good idea to contact someone who knows you as it not only increases the chances of getting a recommendation letter, but you will also get the exact words that suit the targeted position.
Don’t Ask the Wrong Person:
You might not want to ask anyone who doesn’t have the perfect recommendation for you.
For instance, if you didn’t perform well in a professor’s class, or if you skipped a job for several days without asking the boss in advance, those people probably wouldn’t give a very positive recommendation about you.
As simple as it may be, you wouldn’t want to ask someone really close to you either. A family member is out of bounds, nor are close associates (until you have collaborated with them and demonstrated your skills and knowledge).
With that said, you wouldn’t want to ask anyone who doesn’t know you very well.
You can meet someone who understands who you are and your talents without any personal prejudice.
Ideally, you can get a recommendation letter from somebody who has the expertise and is well respected in the area which you are looking for.
Let’s assume, for example, that you need a recommendation letter for a nursing school program.
You can ask a professor you have who works in the medical profession who understands you well.
It would be very helpful for a well-respected specialist in the area to compose a recommendation letter.
The person from the same field knows everything about the position you are eying for, and that professor can write a letter better than anyone else.
So it is always good to contact someone who you know and have expertise in the same field you are applying for.
Appropriate time To ask For the Letter:
Another crucial thing which you need to keep in mind is that you need to ask the right person at the right time.
Now you might be wondering that what is the right time, so the answer is simple. As we all know, there are many things a professor does in their daily busy routine, especially at the end of the term.
All you need to do is find the right time that the professor you are contacting for the recommendation letter has got spare time so that s/he can come up with something aligned with your requirements.
It would be best if you also informed them in advance to manage time for writing an effective letter for you.
Asking the right person at th right time, and possibly informing them and asking for permission in advance, will tremendously boost the chances for getting letters of recommendation.
Asking the right person at the right time will increase the chances of a letter, but it will also help you get a letter that is what you need.
Asking in the Right Manner:
Asking the right person at the right time is vital, but another crucial step is to ask for a recommendation letter in the right manner.
You must know that you are asking for a favor from an extremely busy professor who will have to manage time to come with a letter that actually helps your cause.
For that reason, you need to choose the right way so that you can minimize the danger of refusal.
It is not a bad idea to throw them an email in advance and discuss something that interests that particular teacher or something you both shared while you were in college.
This will not only reminds him of your time with them but will also soften your image. After all, it is good to ask for someone’s time in an appropriate way.
If you asked the right person, at the right time and in the right manner, there is a high possibility that you will get an effective letter of recommendation that will greatly help you to achieve your future goals.
Things to Avoid while Asking for a Recommendation Letter
It will help if you avoid several things to increase the chances of getting a positive recommendation letter, which will prove vital for your future goals. Those things are listed below.
Don’t Wait for The Eleventh Hour
Be sure you request at least one month before the letter is officially required; the secure timeframe to ask is normally about three to five weeks before the deadline.
You need to be cautious about requesting a professor at the end of the term when they’re preparing a load of letters at that point.
You should give them an appropriate period of time to make an effort to consider and write an effective letter.
Since so many people you’d ask might also be writing letters for other students and candidates.
It’s a smart idea to inform them for two weeks or even three weeks before the letter is due. This acts as a gentle reminder of the deadline for the letter.
Ask More Than One Individual
It’s good to be on the safer side and request more than one individual for a recommendation letter.
Asking multiple individuals offers you a variety of common viewpoints regarding your abilities.
Be sure you don’t go crazy and ask for so many — two or four separate individuals are expected to fit well.
To take a secure position, you can more than one individual, preferably two to four, will give you breathing space.
In case one individual does not come up with the letter within the due date, so you will have other options to rely on.
However, you should not go crazy to ask for dozens of recommendation letters as it may fireback and make things worse for you.
Gather all the Necessary Details
You have to provide the information necessary when applying for a recommendation letter.
You would like to know the professor what the letter is about, when it’s due, the letter instructions and how they’re supposed to apply it.
This helps them to get all the knowledge and to be ready; this will benefit you in the end, so you don’t want them to find it out by themselves.
It may also be helpful to append your resume to inform your professor of your accomplishments that you feel will be relevant to the letter.
However, it is crucial to note not to brag or be overbearing; only send a few reminders when you ask to highlight your most outstanding qualities.
The recommendation letters are considered to remain confidential.
People write to them, hoping that they won’t be read and that they won’t have to answer a student on the letter’s content.
Often letters of recommendation are sent digitally or are provided directly by the author to the source.
Even so, if you are issued an enclosed paper, you are not meant to open it. You have to act professionally and honestly by not reading the statement.
If you don’t feel the letter you receive is going to be positive, you should try telling someone else then.
It’s necessary to follow up and acknowledge the individual who sent the recommendation letter as you like to have a better interaction with them but, most importantly, because it’s polite.
You shouldn’t think the way that you got what you needed, and you are not going to interact with that individual again.
That will leave a bad impression, and after all, it is unethical so try not to make it the last interaction with that person.
You might require another letter of recommendation in the future, and it is important to retain a respectful and kind relationship with that person.
Therefore, when you get a recommendation letter, so try to that individual because it shows your gratitude.
Besides, you may also need help from that very individual, so it is not bad to keep in touch with that particular person.
If you’re entering high school, internships, first work, or scholarship programs, several imminent life experiences will demand many excellent and thorough proposals.
Sometimes, the interviews and the cv apparently can’t be enough to demonstrate your qualifications.
There would be many students competing for the same opportunities as you do, so standing out is vital, even though you reached the highest grades and your proposal essay was composed by one of the experienced writers.
The recommendation letter is a reliable way to stand out in a good way that is more likely to be needed at any stage in your life.
Recommendation letters are valuable since they paint a character’s portrait from someone else’s point of view.
They express how you behave and your professional ethic while nobody is observing.
That may seem not very comforting, but it isn’t all that overwhelming if you understand who and how to ask.
Asking the right person, in the right manner, at the right time will surely give you your desired letter of recommendation with utmost ease and comfort.