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How do you ask employers for a recommendation letter?

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Michael’s Answer

I've found that most companies these days will not give a letter of recommendation. There is a fear that it is seen as an endorsement and may present a liability if things go bad in the new role. For example if the letter said "Sally is extremely trustworthy" and then Sally embezzles a million dollars in her new role that might be a problem. Most will provide a verification of employment only. The'll provide start and end dates, title and maybe type of termination, voluntary vs involuntary.

I've been asked for letters of recommendations in the past and will provide with my personal contact information only (assuming I actually recommend the individual). Its also more personal and provides a direct contact for follow-up conversations.

When do I provide personal letters of recommendations, the suggestions by Brooke above are spot on. Make it as easy as possible for the person to help you out.

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Brooke’s Answer

A great way to ask for a letter of recommendation is to give a lot of details when you make the request. Be specific. What are you asking for a letter for (do you have a specific job you'd like to be recommended for, or is it just a general letter)? If you have a job in mind, give the recommender details of the job you're applying to along with a summary of why you think you would be a good candidate for the job.

Remind the recommender of what you accomplished when you worked with them. It helps to keep a list of your projects/accomplishments as you go, so you can look back and pull out highlights of your time as a volunteer or employee. It helps to remind them of your value, so they can mention these specifics in their letter.