Yikes! For some of you the mere thought of asking someone for a letter of recommendation gives you the shakes but it shouldn’t. As someone who writes lots of letters, we appreciate the opportunity to brag about you! but that all depends on a few things.
This advice was posted on a law professor blog and I thought it might be a useful staring point.
(1) When reaching out, please include resume, transcript, and talking points.
(2) Talking points should tell me what you want me to cover substantively and bonus points if in a format I could cut and paste into letter.
(3) Talking points are even better if they situate my letter within the context of any other letters, personal statement, etc.
(4) Talking points should include as much detail of our substantive interactions as possible, as that detail really makes the letter.
(5) Don’t assume I’ll remember the highlights of our interactions. Remind me. Even when I do remember, your framing is often much better.
(6) Make very clear the deadline, and don’t hesitate to remind me as the date approaches.
(7) Also, if possible, give me the email and phone number of the Judge/partner/etc., so that it makes it easier for me to put in a good word.
(8) Once app submitted, keep your whole team posted on any developments.
(9) If you get an interview or make it to next round, email me again and include email/phone of employer to make it easy to reach out.
(10) Send thank you note once application is submitted. It means a lot for us old fashioned folks, esp hard copy under door makes my day.
(11) Finally, add your references to your holiday card list and let them know of any big life events or achievements over the years.
Hope this helps!