A third-party endorsement or recommendation is a powerful addition to a résumé, cover letter, and/or LinkedIn profile. Professors take the writing of recommendations very seriously, and they expect students to do the same. Recommendations reflect not just the quality of the student but also the integrity of the professor.
Here are some guidelines for requesting a recommendation:
- Choose an instructor who knows you well. A professor who knows you well will be able to provide a more specific and detailed recommendation, which is more likely to be valuable for your career documents than a generic recommendation.
- Ask more than one professor. This is a big request, and you might not receive a “yes” from every professor you ask. Ask 2-4 professors, but expect to receive recommendations from only 1-2. You will likely be asking professors from your major and/or minor studies.
- Make a formal request for the recommendation. You can use the form below or send an email with the requested information (that you are looking for a recommendation and when you’d like it returned).
- Give it time. If asked for a timeline to return it, you ideally want to give them a minimum of 1-2 weeks. Two weeks or up to a month is preferable, especially if you are making this request at a busy time of the academic year.
- Provide supporting documentation. If it’s been a while since you were in the professor’s class, provide a copy of an updated resume that highlights your relevant experience and skills. You can also provide a copy of a relevant job posting for the type of role you’re pursuing as well as a graded paper or assignment you completed for the professor’s class.
Note: Don’t be discouraged if a professor declines to write a recommendation. People are busy — they don’t always have the time. Or they may have personal reasons to decline. If you get a “no” response, work your way down the list and ask another professor!
Be sure to send your professor a thank you note when you receive a recommendation. Professors spend a lot of time on these documents; it’s nice to be acknowledged. And be sure to let your professor know if you get the role you’re pursuing!
Student Request for a Professor Recommendation – Example
Student Name: _________________________________________________________________
Professor Name: ________________________________________________________________
Course(s) Taken/Semester: _______________________________________________________
Date You Would Like The Recommendation Returned By: _______________________________
I am preparing my résumé and LinkedIn profile and would appreciate the opportunity to include a recommendation/endorsement from you. Specifically, I am looking for 3-5 sentences that would give a prospective employer an idea of how I might be an asset to their organization, based on your knowledge of me (including my skills, knowledge, and experience) and my academic performance in your classroom.
Of course, if you can’t write a recommendation for me, I completely understand. Please do not feel an obligation to say yes. However, if you are willing to provide content for my career materials, I would appreciate it! You can email your response to me at the email address below, or text me and I will come by and pick it up. Thank you!
Student Email Address: __________________________________________________________
Student Phone Number: _________________________________________________________