The title Please Don’t Make Me Ask for Another Recommendation alone grabbed my attention, it reminded me of what I am always telling my students, clients, friends, and family cultivated relationships. Do not only go to your references when you need something. As a professor, therapist, friend, and coworker I find myself writing a handful of references a year. The procedures in applications vary widely. One requests that letters be sent directly by the person writing the recommendation. Another requires that applicants first forward a template to a recommender, who must use that model to write a letter, which is then to be emailed to the program director. With all the variables, I find myself agreeing with Mr. Shapiro, who says “To get a request saying I need this by end of day is to quickly get you a NO.” I too feel that at least two weeks’ notice is appropriate to prepare a recommendation letter.
I also acknowledge that I need recommendation letters, that is why I believe in cultivating relationships and building bridges. To accomplish this, I send out an email at least once a quarter to stay in touch with my references. How do you handle writing and requesting references?