A Guide to Writing Letter of Reference for a Professor

Writing a letter of reference for a professor is no small task.

It’s essential to ensure you get it right, as this could be the difference between your professor getting that job. In this blog, we will look at what should be included in a letter of reference for a professor, who to ask for one. And the steps to writing letter of reference for a professor.

What’s in a Letter of Recommendation for a Professor?

Writing a letter of recommendation for a professor should include information about their academic achievements, such as awards or publications.

It should also cover their teaching and research skills and any leadership roles they may have held. You can also mention any service contributions they have made to the university or profession.

Who to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation?

The best person to ask for a letter of recommendation is someone who has seen your professor in action. This could either be in the classroom or at conferences.

This could be another professor you have worked with or supervised some of your work. It could also be someone who has worked with your professor on a research project or in any other professional capacity.

How to Ask for a Recommendation Letter for a Professor?

woman wearing grey shirt writing on white paper
Photo by Anna Earl on Unsplash

It is important to remember that writing a letter of recommendation takes time and effort, so you must be respectful when asking.

Ensure you provide all the necessary information, such as what position they are applying for and details about their work. Don’t forget to add how long they have been teaching. Give them enough time to write the letter – two weeks should be sufficient.

Steps to Writing Letter of Reference for a Professor

1) Gather Relevant Information

Write down all the knowledge you want included in the letter, such as awards won, teaching experience, and research projects.

2) Outline the Letter

Start by summarizing why the professor is a great candidate for the position they are applying for.

3) Write Your Recommendation

Use specific examples to showcase their achievements and describe how they have impacted students or other professors. Be sure to keep it professional yet enthusiastic in tone.

4) Proofread and Edit

Read the draft and make any necessary changes before sending it off.

Three Examples of Letters of Reference for a Professor

Example 1

Dear Hiring Committee,

I am writing to recommend Dr. John Doe for the professor position at your university. He has been a colleague of mine for the past five years. During that time, I have observed him to be an excellent professor and mentor.

In addition to being a great teacher, he has achieved many awards for research, publications, and service contributions throughout his career. He is also well-versed in the latest developments in his field and stays up-to-date with the latest trends in teaching methodology. Dr. John always puts the needs of his students first. His dedication and commitment make him an ideal candidate for this position.

I am confident that Dr. John Doe would make an outstanding professor at your institution, and I highly recommend him for the role.


Jane Smith

Example 2

To whom it may concern,

I highly recommend Professor Jane Smith for the position of professor at your university. I have had the pleasure of working with her for the past two years. During this time, I have witnessed her dedication to teaching, research, and service.

She is an incredible researcher, deeply understands the subject matter, and always ensures that her students are engaged in learning. She encourages critical thinking and regularly provides helpful feedback during class discussions. In addition, she has won multiple awards for research accomplishments and outstanding service contributions to our department.

Professor Smith would be an excellent addition to your faculty, as she is highly knowledgeable about her field and passionate about teaching and researching. I strongly recommend her for the position.


John Doe

Example 3

Dear Selection Panel,

I am writing to recommend Dr. Jane Smith for the position of professor at your university. I have worked with her on numerous research projects and have seen firsthand how dedicated she is to her work. She has an excellent understanding of the subject matter and consistently produces high-quality work; other academics often cite her publications in the field.

Dr. Smith also excels as a teacher: she is passionate about teaching and engaging her students in learning. She regularly encourages creative thinking and debate in class discussions. In addition, she has been recognized multiple times for excellence in teaching and service contributions to our department.

Dr. Smith would make an excellent professor at your institution, and I highly recommend her for the role.


John Doe


Can I Ask How Many People?

More than one recommendation letter will probably suffice. Nevertheless, asking everyone you know to write one is unlikely to work in your favor.

Select the top two people you want to ask for two recommendation letters. Select two to three alternates in case you do not have options. Don’t expect your entire list to write letters to cover your bases.

By asking for a letter of recommendation, you keep track of who has submitted it. This is to say, no matter how good your tracking system is, more letter writers means more you can track. And then, possibly more to lose track of.

What Are Tips for Writing a Recommendation Letter for Students

Because you have a lot of students, you don’t necessarily recall details of a particular student. If you want to begin writing, ask your student to provide some relevant information. Many students apply for more than one program at the same time. When writing a recommendation letter, make sure you get the right names.

Read through the program’s website and make sure the student’s strengths and characteristics are clearly highlighted.

Key Takeaway

When writing a letter of reference for a professor, start by summarizing why they are great candidates for the position. Use specific examples to showcase their achievements.

Keep it professional yet enthusiastic tone, and proofread and edit before sending it off. This will ensure that your letter is comprehensive, accurate, and effective.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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