As students preparing to enter the workforce, many of us have heard about letters of recommendation and that they are important. This sends us into a mad rush to find referees to write these letters.
But we never really stopped to think about why they are so important. We just know that we need these letters if we are looking for a job.
So, let us explore why they are so important and how we can ask for one.
What are letters of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation include your qualifications, skills, behaviour and experience. Your future employers often use it to determine if you are ideal for the position you applied for.
Having a letter of recommendation gives you an upper hand against your competition because it endorses you in the job or position you are applying for.
Why Do You Need One?
When applying for any job, the company might ask for a letter of recommendation. It is because they want to verify who you claim to be when they do—a bit like checking something that seems too good to be true.
It is to ensure that you are compatible with the company and their culture and that there are fewer chances of losing you.
What Should/ Should Not Be In It?
Of course, a letter of recommendation is only useful if its contents justify your ability and performance. It should include a clear explanation of your qualities and skills, and provide plenty of examples of how and why you stand out from your competitors.
Try to get your referee to use the PEE format. Point, Evidence, Explanation. All points need to be supported with evidence and further elaboration.
It is good to note that although you cannot directly influence the letter’s contents, you can ask your referee to mention specific points as they write it.
Who Should Write It?
Now, who should write your letter of recommendation? After all, not only are the contents of your letter important, the person writing them is equally as important.
The best people you can have to write you a letter of recommendation would be your; boss or manager, a co-worker, a colleague, or even a mentor. In an academic setting, you should seek out a letter of recommendation from a teacher, professor or counsellor.
I hope this article helped show you the importance of letters of recommendation and how to write or ask for one. Good luck!