How to Request a Letter of Recommendation

While you are at Westfield State University it is very important for you to form relationships with some faculty and 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 5 to 10 years after your graduation! So, visit faculty members occasionally during office hours, join clubs, and attend department events or WSU programs. A professor, staff member, internship supervisor, or work (including work-study) supervisor can all write helpful letters of recommendation. When possible, stay in touch with professors after you graduate. For example: submit updates to our alumni page, “like” and engage with the WSU History Department Facebook page, connect through LinkedIn, etc.

When you request a letter of recommendation, provide information that will help the person write a much stronger and more personal letter that showcases your unique talents, skills, and interests. Your request should include:

  • A reminder of who you are! Example: I took your Latin American history course in Fall 2014, you were my advisor, etc.
  • Details of 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, etc.
  • Background information regarding why you need the recommendation. Example: If you applied for 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 give a brief idea of your career goals
  • A copy of your resume