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How To Ask A Professor For A Letter Of Recommendation For Grad School ( How To Ask For A Reference )



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hello this is dr. Dame Matlack talking

to you about reciprocity dot-com the EE

is written with a three and in this

particular video I wanted to talk about

how to ask for a letter of

recommendation from professor so it was

part of my Monday write series this is

talking about anything to do with sort

of writing in graduate school and

undergraduate school and stuff like that

I'm actually a professor of innovation

strategy and entrepreneurship and this

happens to me I get letters of

recommendation asked about every

semester and I might get a couple of

them I also get as well I've also asked

my own professors for letters of

recommendations and so this is something

that I've just learned along the way

again I'm a professor of innovation

strategy and entrepreneurship and so

what are you supposed to do so what I'm

gonna get into is you know what are you

supposed to do in terms of asking for a

letter of recommendation and then get

into you know some tips to help you out

with going through a letter

recommendation as you can see I'm

actually outside right now there's stuff

going on at my house so I thought it

would be nice just to sit outside

beautiful I live in Florida so you can

see it's actually really beautiful here

so how do you ask for a lot of

recommendation so what you should be

doing is thinking about what you would

do in their shoes right so you want to

put your self in the professor's shoes

in terms of asking for a letter

recommendation think about what they are

going through and whether they feel

comfortable with a letter recommendation

or not you know there's many things as

soon as you sort of put it around and

start thinking what what I had I feel

you're gonna start seeing the bigger

picture in you know asking for the

letter of recommendation so if you put

it into you know imagine you are the

professor what do you think that they

are gonna say about you so the first

thing that you should be thinking about

with a letter of recommendation is

thinking about does the professor know

you enough write is did you have one

class with them and if so were you a

student that you were participating and

and you know you're just making yourself

no one

if they don't know you and you think

that they're kind of yeah the kind

you're on the fence just get to know

them there's no shame and that go and

meet them go talk to them a little bit

maybe do a little bit of work for them

and on the side see if you could do some

extra things so that they can get stuff

done that's a really you know it's gonna

be really helpful if you go and you

actually say you know can I even if it's

just like shredding papers or something

like that something really really tiny

that could be very helpful for them or

you just run errands every once in a

while you know whatever it is maybe that

you read a couple of papers that they've

done you know just really try to get to

know them and spark a conversation

that's a key thing with any sort of

relationship that you're building it's

just trying to give of yourself to them

so that they actually feel very very

comfortable then then they just feel

comfortable with getting you know

writing a letter recommendation that's a

key thing with writing a letter

recommendation is that the professor has

been very very comfortable with with

with that relationship write that but

they're essentially saying that this

person is really good and if they don't

know them then then there's ambiguity

there's some certainty of what how good

they actually are right so do things to

just kind of impress that that

particular person it doesn't matter who

it is if it's a professor or not that's

where you're trying to do the other

thing so the second thing that I would

do is try to make the process as easy as

possible and I get all my students

whenever they ask me and that this was

asked to me so I kind of get them to do

the same thing that was asked me and it

really does help a lot for a letter of

recommendation you know the first thing

I would do is maybe have a sort of kind

of pre-written letter that you wrote

yourself and you give it to them and you

know it's very often that so if I was to

do it if I was gonna write the letter

recommendation I would probably delete

most of that but it gives me sort of

frame of mind it sort of gets me one

step closer in terms of thinking about

you are as a person right so just having

that that sort of pre-written letter

once in a while you might leave a

sentence or two if it's good but in

general and you know it's it's just

getting you it's his duty you're trying

to do as much work as you possibly can

the other thing that you want to make

sure is that you have you know that that

you have a resume that's put down that

you have your resume in your CV that

you've actually written down on a piece

of paper and you give it to them another

thing that's really nice that I always

ask is maybe a one page one page thing a

paper with with bullets and stuff like

that of sort of things that are not on

your resume and not that that you

haven't talked about before that you

know that the professor can highlight is

oh this is kind of interesting this

person is doing and you know obviously

you want to try to make it very specific

bullets and very specific things that

you've done not just like oh this person

is really nice you know things like that

you want to be very specific and sort of

remarkable things that you've done that

the professor might not know and then

the last thing and I get my students to

do this particularly when they're

applying to maybe it's an MBA program

maybe they are thinking of doing their

own doctorate you know whatever it is

that there's think getting into research

and stuff like that I would get them to

sort of come up with a plan for for the

future of what they're doing so if

they're applying to like a graduate

program like an MBA program I get them

to do a spreadsheet that they have a

looked at how much it actually costs

that they've looked at what the salary

is going to be when they get out they

looked at this or different jobs that

they're gonna go and just listing those

in terms of a spreadsheet that's really

useful and it's really good for you to

go through that exam that that exercise

because it sort of gives you a rational

understanding of what you're gonna do

going forward and then the professor or

something to talk about right look at

this this person went and did this

amazing work that nobody else has done

before and it's pretty remarkable

when somebody does that I'm students

have done that to me in the past where

they come up this amazing spreadsheet of

look at this is this is our well planned

you know this is this is where I want to

go you know just stuff like that and

coming up with a different schools

that's amazing when people do that and

that really blows people away like wow

this is this is amazing and and really

what you're trying to do is just make

the goal of writing a letter

recommendation as simple as possible for

the professor right that's that's really

at the end of the day that your goal a

third thing that you should be thinking

about is letter recommendation is not

it's it's not for you per se it so if

the if I'm writing a letter of

recommendation I'm doing it because I

think that this person can actually do

something with their life and that I'm

giving them a vote of confidence

right so if that's the case of

rethinking about what is the vote of

confidence here or what you're trying to

do you're communicating it's a signal to

the marketplace that this person is yeah

this person might actually be really

good in the future and then hopefully

it'll come back to me and and maybe in

15 years so they'll come back to me

maybe you go I recommend for you to do

an MBA and you know this is totally

self-interest right so I recommend that

this particular student does an MBA

they go out and become an MBA they end

up being the CEO of General Electric or

Google or whatever and then they come

back and they're like oh yeah this you

know you changed my career sort of thing

and that is that's important to think

about that kind of stuff right that and

that that it's gonna come back to sort

of thinking about how it can actually

come back to you so you want to do

things that you you want to demonstrate

that it's gonna make you proud or it's

gonna make the professor proud so just

you know go out of your way and try to

demonstrate that you're remarkable in

some sort of way that you are going to

be the next CEO of GE somehow right like

that's really what it comes down to and

so that I can be proud and 15

from now I was like uh yeah you know I

recommended that person and they ended

up becoming so and so I've got a couple

of examples of that in my head where

people have done some really remarkable

things you know maybe they were working

in venture capital maybe they are going

and you know I don't know what that

they're doing in the finance industry or

something like that but pretty

remarkable things so the last thing that

you should be talking about in thinking

about is you know you should be as

grateful as you possibly can so once

they do do that make sure you do things

that that you show your gratitude right

and I'm always grateful for people have

done that kind of stuff for me and it's

wonderful so doing little you know even

just an email of just saying thank you

so much that is really really nice to

get those kind of emails back or you

know maybe it's a personalized letter or

maybe you made some cookies that's

actually a really nice thing by the way

if you make cookies for the person that

know or just something like that and a

little gift it's pretty easy but they

know that you've thought about them and

that's a really nice thing and to get

that kind of stuff so that's all I'm

going to talk about in this particular

video hopefully you like it alright take

care and have a wonderful day bye