How to Request a Letter of Reference

When you plan to apply for an opportunity and need to request a letter of reference, here are the ingredients for making your request as straightforward and courteous as possible.

Subject Line: Request for a Letter of Reference (by [Date])

Hi [Name],

I’m applying for [Describe the Opportunity and Why It Matters to You Personally] at [Program, Institution, or Organization Hyperlinked].

Here is the About Us [OR] Mission Statement page [Hyperlinked] of [the Program, Institution, or Organization].

Please address the letter to [Name of Person] who may be addressed [Role within Organization or Professional Title]. The mailing address is: [Insert Complete Mailing Address Properly Formatted].

The main criteria for this [Opportunity, Scholarship, Internship, Program, Conference, Etc.] are: [Succinctly List Criteria].

Attached is a draft version of the reference letter to serve as a point of departure for you. [Attach Draft Letter in a Word Document].

You can send the letter by [Email, Mail, Online Form]. The email may be sent to [Name] at [Email Address] with the subject line [Proposed Subject Line].

Could you please confirm that you can submit this letter of reference for me by [A Deadline for Your Referee that is Slightly Sooner than the Official Deadline Written with the Day of Week, Calendar Date, and Time of Day].

Also attached is a copy of my CV. [Attach CV in a PDF document]

Thank you so much for your help as I pursue this opportunity.

I will be sure to let you know how it goes! [Actually Follow Up to Express Gratitude and Inform Referee of the Outcome]


[Your First Name]
[Your Phone Number]
[Your Personal Website or LinkedIn]

Published by Amanda Achtman

What matters to me is living in truth, taking responsibility, creating value & cultivating community.

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