How to Get a Great Letter of Recommendation

Written by Jennifer Fantin, Recruitment and Admissions Assistant

Aside from a stellar resume and excellent interview skills, a strong letter of recommendation can play an important part in securing an academic or professional opportunity. A glowing letter of recommendation can give you an enormous leg up on the competition.

Interning in Washington, DC is the perfect opportunity for you to build a great relationship with your supervisor and obtain a letter of recommendation that reflects all of the great work you’ve done.

How exactly does one go about asking their internship supervisor to write such an influential letter of recommendation? Take a look at these suggestions to get yourself a reference that will undoubtedly aid in your future pursuits:

  • Plan out your approach– When requesting a letter of recommendation it is wise to ask someone who can cite specific examples of your abilities, and who better to attest to your hard work ethic than your internship supervisor? It is best to approach them in person. Tell them why the letter is needed, and why it is of importance to you. They will be more willing to help if your request is sincere.
  • The early bird catches the worm– In today’s world most working professionals are often being pulled in a million different directions. This can make it difficult to get a letter of recommendation in a timely manner. In order to ensure you meet the appropriate deadline, touch base with your supervisor regarding the letter request as far in advance as possible. (2-6 weeks is recommended.) You want to provide them with adequate time to compose a quality piece.
  • Provide all necessary materials– Often, a letter of recommendation for a position must follow a distinct format so be sure to inform your supervisor of the desired layout. Provide them with a stamped and addressed envelope if the reference is to be submitted through the mail or specific instructions for letters that are to be submitted online. It cannot hurt to provide them with an updated copy of your resume to remind them of accomplishments that you would like to be included in the reference.
  • Follow up, and keep your supervisor informed– People lead busy lives, and it is not uncommon for your supervisor to forget about a deadline. Make sure to keep in touch with them throughout the process and offer any help you can. It is also essential to thank them for their help, and let them know how the application process works out for you in the end.

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