When it comes to securing a job, scholarship, or any other opportunity, recommendation letters play a crucial role in showcasing your abilities, skills, and character to prospective employers or institutions. However, after requesting a recommendation letter, it’s essential to follow up effectively to ensure that your request is not forgotten or overlooked. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best strategies and techniques on how to follow up on a recommendation letter request. Whether you’re a student, job seeker, or professional, these expert tips will help you navigate this important process with confidence and increase your chances of success.
Why is a Recommendation Letter Important?
A recommendation letter holds significant weight in the evaluation process conducted by employers, universities, or scholarship committees. It serves as a testimonial from someone who can vouch for your abilities, work ethic, and character. Recommendation letters provide valuable insights into your skills, accomplishments, and potential, allowing the recipient to make an informed decision. Therefore, it is crucial to follow up on your recommendation letter request to ensure that your application receives the attention it deserves.
How to Request a Recommendation Letter
Before delving into the art of following up, let’s briefly touch upon the process of requesting a recommendation letter. When approaching someone to write a recommendation letter on your behalf, keep the following points in mind:
- Choose the right person: Select individuals who are familiar with your work, achievements, and character. Ideally, these should be people who can provide specific examples and highlight your strengths.
- Make a personal connection: Approach potential recommenders in person whenever possible. This allows for a more personalized interaction and gives you the opportunity to discuss your goals and aspirations.
- Provide relevant information: Share any necessary details with the recommender, such as the purpose of the letter, specific traits or accomplishments they can highlight, and the deadline for submission.
When to Follow Up on Your Request
Timing is crucial when it comes to following up on your recommendation letter request. You don’t want to appear impatient or pushy, but you also don’t want your request to be forgotten or overlooked. As a general rule of thumb, wait for a reasonable amount of time before initiating a follow-up. The exact duration may vary depending on the circumstances, but typically a week to ten days is considered appropriate.
Crafting a Polite Follow-Up Email
When it’s time to follow up on your recommendation letter request, a well-crafted email can make all the difference. Here are some key points to consider when composing your follow-up email:
- Be polite and respectful: Begin your email with a friendly greeting and express gratitude for the individual’s willingness to consider your request.
- Remind them of your initial request: Briefly recap the details of your original request, including the purpose of the recommendation letter and the deadline.
- Inquire about the status: Politely ask if they have had a chance to review your request and if they require any additional information from you.
- Offer assistance: Demonstrate your willingness to provide any necessary documents, answer questions, or clarify any concerns they may have.
- Express appreciation: Reiterate your gratitude for their time and effort, emphasizing the importance of their recommendation to you.
Remember, keep your follow-up email concise, clear, and professional. Avoid using excessive jargon or overly complex sentences that may confuse or overwhelm the recipient.
Following Up with a Phone Call
In some cases, following up with a phone call can be a more direct and effective approach. However, it’s crucial to exercise tact and professionalism when making a follow-up call. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:
- Choose an appropriate time: Consider the recommender’s schedule and try to call during a time when they are likely to be available and not preoccupied with other responsibilities.
- Introduce yourself: Begin the call by reminding them of who you are and the purpose of your recommendation letter request.
- Express gratitude: Express your appreciation for their willingness to consider your request and highlight the significance of their recommendation to you.
- Inquire about the status: Ask if they have had an opportunity to review your request and if they require any additional information or documentation.
- Offer assistance: Similar to the follow-up email, let them know that you are available to provide any necessary assistance or address any concerns they may have.
- Thank them for their time: End the call by thanking them for their time and consideration. Reiterate your gratitude and emphasize the impact their recommendation would have on your future endeavors.
What to Do If You Don’t Receive a Response
Despite your best efforts, there may be instances when you don’t receive a response to your recommendation letter request. In such cases, it’s important not to jump to conclusions or assume the worst. Here’s what you can do:
- Give it some time: People have busy schedules, and it’s possible that the recommender hasn’t had a chance to respond yet. Exercise patience and wait for a reasonable period before taking further action.
- Send a gentle reminder: If several weeks have passed without a response, consider sending a polite follow-up email or making a phone call to inquire about the status of your request. Politely remind them of your initial communication and express your continued interest.
- Seek an alternative: If you still don’t receive a response, it may be wise to consider seeking an alternative recommender. Identify someone else who can provide a strong and supportive recommendation on your behalf.
How Many Times Should You Follow Up?
The number of times you should follow up on a recommendation letter request depends on various factors, such as the urgency of the situation and the individual’s communication preferences. In general, two to three follow-ups are considered appropriate. However, ensure that each follow-up is spaced out and maintains a polite and respectful tone.
Sample Follow-Up Email Templates
To help you in your follow-up endeavors, here are two sample email templates that you can customize according to your specific situation:
Follow-Up Email Template 1:Subject: Gentle Reminder: Recommendation Letter Request Dear [Recommender’s Name], I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to express my sincere gratitude for considering my request for a recommendation letter. Your insight and support would be invaluable to me as I pursue [purpose of recommendation]. I understand that you have a busy schedule, and I wanted to follow up to inquire if you have had a chance to review my request. If there is any additional information or documentation that you need from me, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m more than willing to provide any assistance required. Once again, I appreciate your time and consideration. Your recommendation would greatly impact my future endeavors. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to facilitate this process. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Warm regards, [Your Name]
Follow-Up Email Template 2:Subject: Checking in: Recommendation Letter Request Dear [Recommender’s Name], I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to reach out to follow up on my previous request for a recommendation letter. I understand that you are busy, and I greatly appreciate your consideration. I’m excited about the opportunity to pursue [purpose of recommendation], and I believe your recommendation would significantly contribute to my success. I wanted to check if you had any questions or needed further information from me to proceed with the recommendation letter. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to assist you in this process. Your guidance and support are highly valued, and I’m grateful for your time and consideration. Thank you once again for your help, and I’m looking forward to your response. Best regards, [Your Name]
Feel free to personalize these templates and make them your own. Remember to maintain a professional and courteous tone throughout your communication.
FAQs about Following Up on Recommendation Letter Requests
What should I include in a follow-up email?
In a follow-up email, be sure to include a polite greeting, express gratitude, remind the recommender of your initial request, inquire about the status, offer assistance, and express appreciation for their time and effort. Keep the email concise and professional.
Is it appropriate to follow up with a phone call?
Yes, following up with a phone call can be appropriate in certain situations. Ensure that you choose an appropriate time, introduce yourself, express gratitude, inquire about the status, offer assistance, and thank them for their time.
How long should I wait before following up?
Wait for a reasonable amount of time, typically a week to ten days, before initiating a follow-up. However, adjust the duration based on the urgency and context of your request.
What if the recommender declines my request?
If the recommender declines your request, thank them for their time and consideration. Then, consider seeking an alternative recommender who can provide a strong and supportive recommendation.
Can I follow up multiple times?
It is generally acceptable to follow up two to three times. However, ensure that each follow-up is spaced out and maintains a polite and respectful tone.
Should I send a thank-you note after receiving a recommendation letter?
Yes, sending a thank-you note is a thoughtful gesture to express your gratitude for the recommender’s time and effort. It shows your appreciation for their support and strengthens your professional relationship.
Following up on a recommendation letter request is crucial to ensure that your application receives the attention it deserves. By implementing the strategies and techniques outlined in this guide, you can navigate the follow-up process with confidence and increase your chances of securing the desired opportunity. Remember to be polite, professional, and patient throughout the entire process. Good luck!