Howdy Dr. Lowery,
I am a former (or current) Civil Engineering student (or other) and am presently looking for a job (applying for a scholarship, applying for an award, trying to get into graduate school, … ). I am writing to ask if it would be OK to list you on my resume as a reference.
Joe: I would be happy to serve as a reference for you. However, since they may indeed call me, please email me the following information, which they invariably ask. If something below does not apply, just leave it blank, and if they raise that question I will tell them I don’t know.
- When did I first meet you?
- For how many years have I known you?
- In what capacity did I know you (as your professor, advisor, …)?
- What was your Student ID number, so I can look you up?
- What classes did I teach you?
- What grades did you make in my classes?
- Were you my TA, RA in a class?
- What was your overall GPA?
- What was your in-major GPA?
- What did you do while at A&M that made you stand out, and that I should mention?
- Why do you think you are eligible and likely to win this award, get this job, etc?
- In what engineering societies or other groups did you participate (ASCE, Big Event, plant trees, …)?
- Did you serve as an officer?
- What were your strong points while here at A&M?
- If applicable, what have you done since graduation, like who have your worked for, what did you do, what did you learn, what graduate school did you attend, what advanced degrees have you gathered, etc.?
- Did you support yourself in school?
- Anything else you would like me to know and mention when they call?
I would also like for you to email me a copy of your resume so I can refer to it if they call.
Now you may say that we never really worked together on classes or anything else, other than your just dropping by every now and then for questions. Perhaps not even that. That’s not a problem. As long as I have been here I know far more about you, and how to evaluate you than you could imagine. If you graduated from here it my considered opinion that you can’t help but be a heck of a person. Still, if you fill out answers to whatever of the above applies, I will look knowledgeable about your abilities and be more convincing should they call. Also, if you will give me a couple of your professor’s names and classes, I can contact them, dig up your student file, and do a pretty good job of finding out a lot about you, which can also help.
Finally, if you don’t think they actually intend to contact me you are always welcome to just put me down as a reference without all of the above formalities. However, if they actually do I will have to tell them that since you graduated from here you can’t help but be a good student and worker. Otherwise you would have never made it, but that I really don’t know much more than that about you.
Now yes, there is a charge for this service. In return I would like an email from you when you get the chance, telling me where you finally ended up, what you are doing, and a brief update every few years. I really hate losing contact with so many of you I have taught and worked with. Plus, you are an excellent source of job opportunities for those coming after you. Also, when they realize that I am getting far too old for this job, I will be calling you asking for employment with your company. And when I say “your” company, that’s exactly what I mean. You would be amazed at how many of you start your own companies about 5 years out, and do amazing things with them.
I wish you luck,
I received a request for a recommendation for you, listed below. I haven’t received anything from you about this, and for all I know it may be spam or worse.
Did you submit this? I am happy to respond, but am I the best recommendation you have? You got C’s in both of my classes which is certainly fine, but for a recommendation of any kind you want to pick your best chance of success.
You should also send me a list all of the other fantastic things you have accomplished, indicating why they should give you this scholarship. Right now about all I can tell them is “nice guy, average student.” That will hardly address their request for specific information regarding:
Academic record, plans, and goals
Personal strengths: including motivation, leadership, and commitment
Community service and extracurricular activities
Since I don’t really know if this came from you I’ll wait until I hear back. It probably is, but FERPA has very strict rules on the release of any kind of student information without your direct consent.