Coming up with a good recommendation letter can be difficult, but it is a must of you want to make an impression on business school admissions committees. Here are a few tips to help you procure recommendation letters that actually work for business school applicants:
Recommendation Letter Tip #1: Choose Someone Who Gives a Hoot
The worst mistake business school applicants make is choosing a recommender based on title alone. The best recommenders are familiar with you. In other words, they know your name and don't mispronounce it. Since these people are much more likely to care about you or at least have an opinion of you, they will probably make more of an effort on your behalf.
Recommendation Letter Tip #2: Give Your Recommenders Time
The second worst mistake business school applicants make is not giving their recommenders enough time to complete recommendation letters or the forms that business schools sometimes hand out. The fact is that quality recommendation letters take time to write. If your recommenders aren't given this courtesy, it will show in the letter.
Recommendation Letter Tip #3: Help Your Recommenders
To get a recommendation letter that actually works, you are going to need to give your recommenders a few basic guidelines. To start, provide your recommender with the type of information that you would like to see included in the recommendation letter. For example, if you want the letter to focus on your strengths and weaknesses versus your leadership abilities, you need to mention that to your recommender beforehand. Finally, ask your recommenders to be detailed. Business schools love recommendation letters that go into detail and offer some sort of insight into the applicant.
Recommendation Letter Tip #4: Get Enough Letters
Most admissions committees request two to three recommendation letters. You should find at least this many letter writers plus one or two extra. If you have extra recommendation letters, you can compare them and choose the ones that best fit your needs.
Recommendation Letter Tip #5: Thank Your Recommender
It takes time and effort to craft a good recommendation letter. Be sure to thank your recommenders for their time with a short, but professional thank you note. See a sample thank you note for recommenders.