Application Resources

Etiquette for Requesting Letters of Recommendation

  • Be considerate of your recommenders’ time constraints by requesting a letter of recommendation well in advance of when you need it. As a general guideline, allow your recommender at least 3 weeks before you need their letter, although some people may need more time.
  • Provide your recommenders with the deadline for their letter.
  • Provide your recommenders with a copy of the criteria for the award or position for which they are recommending you so that they can address the aspects of your experience or qualifications most relevant to the criteria.
  • Give your recommenders a copy of your resume so they can provide more comprehensive comments about your qualifications.
  • Provide your recommenders with the correct name, title and address of the individual or committee to whom the letter will be submitted so that they know how to properly address the letter.
  • Inform recommenders whether they should provide their letter to you or send it directly to the recipient (i.e. employer, award committee, etc).
  • Check with your recommenders 48 hours in advance of the submission or application deadline so that you can provide a reminder if needed.
  • Write a thank you to your recommenders after their letter is submitted.
  • Keep your recommenders informed of the results of the application or award process. Write a second thank you if you are selected for the position or award for which they supported you!

Assistance with Writing or Improving Your Resume

For help in developing an effective resume, NIU students can contact NIU Career Services in the Campus Life Building, Room 220, or at 815-753-1641, or view their online resources at http://www.niu.edu/careerservices. Students from other campuses can seek help from their campus career services office.

Assistance with Writing an Effective Essay

For assistance in writing an effective essay, NIU students can contact the University Writing Center in the lower level of Stevenson South B, or at 815-753-6636, or view their online resources at http://uwc.niu.edu. Students from other campuses can seek help from their campus writing centers.