Asking someone to write a recommendation letter can be a bit obnoxious because we need to consider a shedload of things.
We need to ask ourselves questions like, “Is it a good time to reach out?” or “What if they don’t respond?,” not to mention “What if they decline?”
But, do you know what’s way worse than these apprehensions?
It’s when they’ve already agreed to the request, yet they seem to have forgotten along the way, or they could just be intentionally delaying their response.
Today, we’ll try to cover how to effectively jog the memory of our former superiors and professors to write a recommendation letter for us.
How can we remind someone for a letter of recommendation?
We can remind a person to send us a letter of recommendation by using a formal to consultative language register in a two-to-three-paragraph message. The message should contain an introduction, body, and conclusion with a call-to-action prompt that has an assertive yet polite tonality.
Recommendation letter reminder writing etiquette
People, especially those sitting on authoritative chairs, could get hard to reach out to due to their heavy workload and hectic schedules.
No matter how much they try to fit everything on one plate, some form of distractions just can’t be avoided.
So, it is ideal that we know how to communicate with them as effectively as possible, particularly because we are well aware that they’ve got the upper hand.
Of course, we also need to send recommendation requests to people whom we have closely worked with, rather than just any random person.
Here are some essentials on how to write a reminder message to someone with whom we’ve requested a recommendation letter.
Language register refers to the formality level of language choice that serves a particular purpose in certain communicative situations.
In the type of correspondence involved in our topic today, we are expected to use a formal to consultative register since we are dealing with professional context.
Using these types of language register means that there is a need to use complete sentences and avoid slang or jargonic terminologies.
In other words, the default equation is to do away with using a conversational or casual tone when reminding an authority figure about a recommendation letter request that may have just slipped their minds.
Sometimes, though, people intentionally put off responding to recommendation letter requests so that they can still have the prerogative to include or exclude any significant event that may happen before the deadline.
Unless you share an extremely personal bond with the person, which is almost always rare, then feel free to tone down the formality level of the message.
The formal register is necessary because it reflects the writer’s professional attitude towards the content, as well as the addressee.
Put simply, any message that’s written as politely as possible is key to keeping any trouble at bay.
Reminder messages ought to be concise and designed to be skimmed on; doing so helps in prompting the recipient to respond as immediately as possible.
We don’t really want to take up too much of their time, for we have to consider that they’ve got other responsibilities to attend to.
This just means that we have to keep the reminder message into two or three short paragraphs, meanwhile using polite language.
And, the entire message has to be crafted in such a way that it contains a “call-to-action” implication.
To know the most crucial parts of constructing a reminder message to any authority figure, let’s look at these specific aspects in detail.
Parts of a recommendation letter reminder message
Although we don’t want to sound too insistent, we still need to inject some degree of assertion into our reminder message.
Listed below are the parts of a recommendation letter reminder message, in which the overall goal is to assertively, yet politely, prompt the recipient to take action.
In creating the introductory paragraph, it is ideal to let the recipient know the intent right away so that the reader would be able to realize the urgency of the message; hence, keywords are pivotal.
But, it is also even more advantageous to start with a positive note, just like how we normally do in actual conversations.
The positive note should be nothing too fancy yet nothing too facile either. It should at least be along the lines of the following examples.
I hope you are doing well, Mr. Filmore. I am writing to remind you about the recommendation letter I requested on (date).
Happy Monday, Ms. Watsons! I hope you are doing well. Thank you for accepting my request for a recommendation letter on (date).
Preferably the second paragraph, the body of the message, should contain details relevant to the content of the recommendation letter.
This is to prevent the recipient from reviewing past message exchanges, which could take up some time.
As much as possible, we need to keep the addressee’s life as convenient as we can, for we are the ones asking for time and effort.
Here’s how we can do that.
(1) This is to follow up on our initial conversation on you recommending me as an intern behavior therapist for ABC Clinic. The deadline for my submission of requirements is on (date).
(2) This e-mail is to remind you of the recommendation letter I requested for the intern behavior therapist position at ABC Clinic. The due date for my submission is x weeks later.
Lastly, expediting the request could also be prompted if we offer further assistance to the recipient.
Again, the idea is to evoke a sense of convenience in the person who needs to allocate time and exert effort in the process.
In a nutshell, we want to communicate that we are providing some goodwill or “favor” to whomever we want to ask recommendation from.
Should you need further information for the recommendation letter, I can provide more documents and materials anytime. Thank you very much.
Please feel free to contact me anytime should you need further information to write the letter of recommendation. Thank you in advance.
Sample recommendation letter reminder
Now that we’ve learned our ABCs on how to remind someone of a recommendation letter request, let’s try to combine everything to see the complete message structure.
By the way, don’t forget to write a salutation such as “Dear Sir or Madam” as well as a complimentary close or sign-off message.
Dear Mr. Damian Everett,
I hope you are doing well today. I am writing to remind you about the recommendation letter I requested on May 25th last month.
This is to follow up on the initial conversation we’ve had on you recommending me as an intern behavior therapist at ABC Clinic. The deadline for my submission of requirements is two weeks later.
Should you need further information to review my request, please feel free to let me know so I can send you more materials and information.
Thank you in advance.
Frequently Asked Questions on “Writing a Letter of Recommendation Reminder”
What does it mean when a follow-up e-mail for a recommendation letter request has no response?
It could mean that the addressee is intentionally putting off the response until a date close to the deadline so that the person can still include or exclude any relevant informational changes before the due date. Or, this could also mean that the request has been unintentionally forgotten.
How can we remind a professor to submit a recommendation letter?
A reminder message needs to be polite, concise, and it should bear a call-to-action prompt. Ideally, it should be composed of two to three paragraphs that contain the requested date as well as the deadline for the submission of the recommendation letter.
How do I write a gentle or polite reminder for a recommendation letter?
We can write a gentle request reminder by using a formal language register with an assertive yet polite tone. We should also offer guidance and relevant information in the message to expedite the process.
Writing a reminder for any document request can be a bit discomforting for many, especially for those who irregularly correspond in a formal manner.
However, the key to this concern simply lies in the combination of polite yet assertive language use, as well as making the life of the addressee as convenient as possible.
And of course, as per Vince Lombardi, only perfect practice makes perfect.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.