6 tips to “request” a great recommendation.
Thoughts from the creators of ERPandi.com
A great RFR (Request for recommendation) text elicits a great recommendation.
1. Specific context: Like any text, recommendation, reflects the writer’s thoughts. So make sure the thought is a memory of something significant you did. Specify the context. For instance, “please recommend me based on my deliverable that fixed the payroll issue within 3 days.”
2. Positive working experience: Mention a specific set of deliverable that you worked together. Make sure the experiences were positive. Altercations are common in any design sessions. It ensures a well vetted, quality deliverable. But if the other guy left the discussion feeling sour, it may reflect in the recommendation. A sour feeling only gets worse overtime. If you are not sure, give it a positive twist.
3. Do not let the recommendation be held hostage. Do not wait till the end of the gig to request one. Ask for one based on deliverable so far.
4. Be specific about the set of attributes you need a recommendation on. Recommendations are often written on a general perception. Ask to be recommended for your specific attributes: Punctuality; flexibility with working hours; knowledge of business process, knowledge of latest technical trends; leadership style etc
5. Ask to be rated (1 through 5) and hint a bench mark. An extension of the above point, ask your rating to be quantified. Often people judge others with very high and unrealistic standards. They end up giving mediocre rating for an above average performance. Ask for your performance to be quantified. Hint a bench mark that you would like to be evaluated against. This would help people not rate you low.
6. Suggest to keep it ‘short’ and simple: Most people are writing challenged. So ask to keep it short and to the point. For the sake of writer as well as reader. For instance, “….give a short recommendation (4 sentences) about… “
– Do not send a simple note asking for recommendation and wait to be surprised. You may be surprised unpleasantly. Have an idea of what you would like to hear and lead the recommend-er half way towards that.
– Professional recommendations are quite different from romantic compliments. There is no room for spontaneity.
– Just like other standard communications (covering letter; work-from-home mail; out-of-office text; sales calls etc), prepare a few standard scripts (RFR text) that is well honed to elicit great recommendations.