How do I ask?


  • Specializes in Cardiac, Trauma, Pediatrics. Has 4 years experience.

Good Morning!!!

I am planning on getting my portfolio together to take to interviews and I am in need of one thing, a few letters of recommendation! I am very outspoken, and outgoing but every time I see one of my professors or my nurse manager I freeze up and I don't want to ask them! I know I sound silly, but I think school stress has gotten the best of me!

Therefore, I want to write them a letter to ask for a letter of recommendation. Has anyone done this before, or does anyone have any examples?

I am just lost for words!:uhoh3:

Thanks in advance!


Writing may or may not give you an l.o.r. But it looks and sounds professional to me...and yes, I have done the same.


1,361 Posts

Specializes in ICU, ER, EP,. Has 17 years experience.

Looking back, I still remember two instructors that I meshed with and felt I proved myself with. Because of that, I chose those two to ask. They are very used to giving out recommendations, it's part of the job.

I approached one and said something like "you were very tough on me on the floor and set high standards. I felt in the end of our semester that I met them and would like to ask you for a recommendation, do you feel comfortable giving me a strong recommendation in my job search?" I promise you, a good instructor, if not comfortable, will guide you elsewhere. They would not have passed you and give you a letter if not comfortable to your face, only to slam you.

In addition, remember this is a typed letter in hand, if it is not pleasing to you... the trash bin is always close... as well as an alternative if you may have chosen wrong the first time... Then try again.



318 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Acute Rehab. Has 4 years experience.

Based on my experience, having graduated in Dec, 2008, instructors are all used to being asked for letters of recommendation. They all seemed more than happy to write one unless, of course, you had issues with them! I would think you should not have a problem.

vena cava

22 Posts

you could try asking them in an e-mail...worked for me.


1 Article; 96 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg/Tele.

I think you should be asking in person, jmho

When I was looking for letters of rec, I chose certain professors that I knew I had impressed throughout the course and I simply went up to them and said something like: " I'm sure you know I will be looking for employment soon, and I would be honored if you would write me a letter of recomendation"


282 Posts

From an instructor's viewpoint, we are happy to write you a letter of recommendation! Don't stress about asking for one, as we write many letters for many students. Some of my students ask me face to face, but the majority seem to email me their request for writing a letter or just being a reference on their resume (which you should also ask about before putting down a name).

I would suggest having the address of the institution and the recruiter's name for your instructor. Having the recruiter's name shows that you did your homework and negates the typical "To Whom It May Concern" letter. Also, I would tell your instructor if there is anything special to note in the letter, such as leadership experience you had in school, or a position that you are really interested in.

Give your instructor at least a week or so to write the letter. Don't expect it that day or overnight. And tell them if you want us to mail it to the recruiter directly, or if you will pick it up from them. Some places ask for it to be in a sealed envelope with my signature on the seal. If that is the case I usually give a copy of the letter to the student, so they know exactly what I said.

I always save a copy of each letter, so if a student needs another letter in the future, it will be much easier to construct with an older letter.

Don't ask an instructor to write you a letter if you feel like your relationship is not a good one. If you showed some negativity to an instructor, or gave them a bad evaluation, find someone else to write your letter. (It always amazes me who that some students who were caught cheating or did poorly in clinical will be first in line to ask for a letter. Maybe because no one else wanted to write the letter either?)

A letter shouldn't be expected form any instructor. I've had 2-3 students who I had to turn down their request for a letter, based on the fact that I didn't think I help their application. One of them complained to my director that I refused to write her a letter! (That complaint went nowhere.)

Good luck with your job search and I hope this helps you to feel more relaxed with asking for a letter. It might be nice to follow up to those who wrote a letter and tell them where you did accept a position. A handwritten thank you note is always a nice way to share your good news and say thanks.


1,756 Posts

Specializes in LTC, Memory loss, PDN. Has 23 years experience.

I suggest to ask for a lor in person. While I don't find anything wrong with a written request, in your situation I'd be concerned about freezing up during an actual interview and therefore would consider a verbal request for a lor a good practice to handle a stressful situation. You Can Do It!