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You Can Still Get a Professional Reference Letter, Even if You Left School Years Ago

College professors will always be a great author when it comes to getting a professional reference letter. Not only do they have a great deal of experience when it comes to drafting such letters, but they’re also well-educated and articulate. The biggest advantage of getting a letter of recommendation you can use while applying for jobs will be that the creator of the letter will be someone who is both well-known and well respected in your field. This will give you an important edge on all of the other applicants for the job.

The best time to get a professional reference letter from one of your professors will be while you’re still a student.  Not only does this give the professor plenty of time to write the letter, but it also means they know exactly who you are, and writing a letter of recommendation is a great deal easier when you have a clear impression of the person you’re writing about. The problem some students run into years after they have left school is that they happen upon a situation where they need a professional reference letter  from one of their professors, either for a job or to help get into graduate school, but they don’t know how to go about getting one.

This won’t be an easy process, and it will require some nerve on your part, but it can be done. The first thing you will have to do is go through a list of your professors and jot down the names of each one you think might remember you. Professors you worked closely with, or who regularly complemented your work will be the best bets.  You will be surprised how many professors remember their students, especially if their memory can be jogged by a story. The better you remember a specific professor, the greater the chances will be of them remembering you.

Just because you didn’t work closely with any of the professors, it doesn’t mean you should give up hope. You should still contact a few and find out if they happened to keep a copy of their grading records.  Having a copy of the grades you made during your time as one of their students will allow them to draft a decent professional reference letter. They will be able to talk about the type of work you submitted, and if you were a consistent and engaged student. This letter, as well as the recommendations of a couple of former employers and co-workers will increase the odds of you getting a job.

The good news about going through the hassle of trying to get a professional reference letter will be that you’ll never again put off getting a recommendation from someone, regardless of whether or not you need it right away or not.

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