How Do I Ask For a Recommendation or Reference?

How Do I Ask For a Recommendation or Reference?

-October 27, 2017

College recommendations are a crucial part of your application. Also, once you start applying for internships and jobs, it’s very likely that you’ll need a reference. You can ask these by email or a handwritten letter, but either way, you’ll want to put ask for this carefully and professionally. Here are tips on how to ask!

  1. Consider someone from your FW Internship
    • A recommendation or reference from your summer internship is a great start
    • Many of our Internship Partners have written recs in the past
  2. Always include a greeting
    • Dear/Good morning/Hello followed by the Person’s Name
  3. Introduce yourself
    • Make sure the person knows who you are
    • They may know you but have never received an an email from you before
  4. How are you doing?
    • Don’t immediately ask them for a favor
    • Ask how they are doing OR express that you hope that they are well
  5. Recount an interaction
    • Bring up a particular experience or memory you have of them
    • It was so great to see you at the FW Celebration, I will always appreciate the advice you gave me/the time you’ve spent with me/showing me around last summer, etc
  6. State why you are reaching out
    • Tell them what you are up to – in the college process, applying to summer internships, etc
    • Ask for a recommendation politely
    • You can also mention why you thought they would be an ideal person to write your recommendation or be a reference
  7. Provide any necessary details
    • Let them know of any details that will help them complete it without any problems
    • Due date, where to submit the letter, who they might have to speak with, etc
  8. Allow them to decline
    • Acknowledge that they’re busy and may not be able to help
    • It is better to have a person decline a rec/reference, than to write a halfhearted or not very positive review
  9. Sign off
    • Always sign off in polite way
    • Sincerely/Kindest Regard/Best followed by your name
  10. Re-read!
    • Make sure that the email flows nicely
    • Look out for any typos or errors
  11. Reply as quickly as possible

Below is an example of the structure and wording you could use for your email:


I hope this email finds you well! I had an incredible experience interning at (COMPANY NAME) and learned that I want to focus on (COLLEGE/CAREER INTEREST) in college. I wanted to ask you if you would do me the great honor of writing a letter of recommendation on my behalf for the colleges I’m applying to. The deadline for my applications is (DATE). If you are able to write a letter for me, I’ve included instructions below:

[List any relevant instructions here such as formatting requirements, website to visit to submit letter, or that the recommender will receive a link from COLLEGES/PROGRAMS]

I would be grateful for your support on my college application, but I understand that you are very busy, and I appreciate your consideration. If you don’t feel you are able to write me a letter, please let me know.

Thank you again!

Kindest regards,