How To: Schmooze a Professor
Now that recruitment for finance internships is far, far behind us, it’s time for the rest of us to get cracking on finding some sort of summer activity that looks great on our resume. The real stumbling block, though, in applying for these sorts of positions is that the jobs that would make you look most employable are the ones that are for the dreaded letter of recommendation. Asking for a rec letter is intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With our easy guide, you’ll be an expert at putting together application with stellar rec letters.
Go to office hours: We cannot stress this enough. You will regret that extra hour of sleep that you nagged when your professor sidesteps you in your hour of need. Get to know the person you’re asking to write your rec letter outside of class! Professors and TFs want people to be interested in what they’re teaching you and they are more likely to do this favor for you if they actually recognize you.
Ask in advance: Don’t wait until the last minute to ask this of someone. No one likes to be asked to do important work with no prior warning, and it’s tough to think of nice things to say about someone when you have to write a letter if you’re thinking about all the other important work you should be doing with this time you did not allot for writing.
Say thank you: This is the most important step! You absolutely need to thank the person who wrote your rec letter, either with a heartfelt email or maybe even a handwritten card.
Follow up: Let your savior know how the rest of the application process went. You don't want to make them feel like you only cared about them for the one second they were helpful to you. If you get the job, thank them (again) for being instrumental in your success.. If not, tell them anyway, and fill them in on your alternative plans.
And there you have it. Follow these steps and you should be fine. If the application is due soon, there’s always the fallback email with the subject line “HELP” sent to your academic adviser at 2 a.m., because at least you can count on one person on this campus to be at that ungodly hour.*
*do not try this at home, kids.