How to Request a Letter of Recommendation

While you are at Westfield State it is very important for you to form relationships with some faculty and/or staff. Throughout your career you may need to request letters of recommendation from former professors: for grad school, a job, summer program, etc.  Professors and others can write you a much stronger recommendation letter if they clearly remember who you are in 5 or 10 years after your graduation! So, visit faculty members occasionally during office hours, attend department events or WSU programs. Join clubs. A professor, staff person, internship supervisor or work supervisor can all write helpful letters of recommendation. And stay in touch with professors after you graduate. For example: submit updates to our alumni page, “like” the WSU History Dept. Facebook page, connect through Linked-In, etc.

When you e-mail someone to request a letter of recommendation:

  • Remind them who you are! Example: I took your Latin American history course in Fall’14, you were my advisor, etc.
  • Let them know what you have been doing. Example: Since graduation I have been working at a local business, teaching at x school, volunteering at a local historical society…
  • Provide background information on what the letter is for. Example: If a teaching job explain why you want the job, what your strengths are, etc. If it is for graduate school, include/attach any application essay you submitted/ wrote. Let the person know why you want to go to graduate school in that field and what your career goals are.
  • Attach a copy of your resume.

All of this info helps the person write a much stronger and more personal letter of recommendation that showcases your unique talents, skills, and interests.