Securing a Letter of Recommendation
May 25 2016
With academic year ends just around the corner and graduation coming up for seniors, the topic of post-secondary education or job hunting has probably come up once or twice. You’ve heard it all before; this is an important time for you that will play a big role in shaping your future – this is true. So the pressure is on, more or less.
To help you prepare for this big transition, you have most likely used the Resume and Cover Letter Builder on your myBlueprint student account. You’ve probably taken some time to reflect on your interests and motivations and completed Career Spectrum to give you some ideas on what path you’d like to take. And you may have taken the next step down that path by searching interesting jobs in real time with the myBlueprint Job Finder.
But what else can you do to help beef up your resume for that job or post-secondary application?
Get a letter of recommendation.
A letter of recommendation is a document written that attests to your involvements, your achievements, your abilities, and most of all, a belief in you that you will succeed in whatever program, position or opportunity that you are applying for.
So how do you get one?
First reflect on the position or program that you are applying for. Now think of the different groups or clubs that you are involved with in and outside of school. Maybe you’re on a sports team, a part of a debate club, theatre group, community volunteer association, or work for a company or an individual.
Think of the different soft skills that you have used and developed in those groups, and how they could apply to the program or position you are interested in. Make a list of your involvements that are most closely related to the requirements of the job position or program.
From here, think about the relationships you have with the adult supervisors of those groups. This could include the principal or a teacher of your school, a coach, a volunteer co-ordinator, your manager etc. Make a list of the supervisors that you are comfortable talking to and that you have a good relationship with. Then ask them, it’s as simple as that!
How do I ask for a letter?
It can be scary to ask for a letter of recommendation but it’s likely that the person you’re asking has written one before. When you do ask for a letter, be specific and be sure that the person you’re asking is willing to write your strengths. Here’s an example of what you can say:
“Hi Mr. D, I am applying for X program at Y university and was wondering if you could write me a positive letter of recommendation for my involvement with and my role as chair of the debate club.”
What information should it include?
Letters of recommendation can vary, but generally the type of information you want to include is as follows. The letter needs to be specific enough so that the person reading your application will be able to understand your strengths.
• Name and position of the person writing the letter
• Brief description of the group
• Description of your involvement
• How you were an asset to the group
• Different positive adjectives to describe your soft skills and strengths
• Statement on how you would excel in the position you’re applying for
To learn more about soft skills visit our blog series at: https://www.myblueprint.ca/2016/01/?cat=3
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