Video blog: How to get to know—and get reference letters from—your profs


McMaster University communications studies professor Alexandre Sévigny explains the importance of having an “in” with your professors so you can get to know them, so they can provide career advice and industry contacts, and so you can ultimately ask them for a reference letter for an entry-level job or internship.

These are some of the tips for students which he outlines in the video:

  • Introduce yourself to your professors during the first few weeks of class
  • Go to professors’ offices during office hours—Sévigny says only about five students out of hundreds and hundreds usually come to visit him during office hours, so he really gets to know them and is more likely to be able to provide helpful advice and act as a reference for them
  • Chat with your profs about the content you learned in class—chances are you’ll develop a better understanding of the course material while you’re getting to know them
  • Talk about yourself—your experience, dreams, ambitions
  • When you ask for a letter of reference, always include a brief biographical sketch of yourself, a resumé and a statement of interest—tell your prof why you want the job and why you’re a great candidate for the position

If you liked what Sévigny had to say, check out these articles: The benefits of learning new languages, Part 1: Why take a language? and Part 2: The business world, both by Danielle Lorenz, and A letter of advice to students from a professor by Sévigny himself!

Also, don’t forget to read How to ask your professor for a reference letter.

About the author

Rebecca Cave produced more than 100 videos during her video production internship with TalentEgg in early 2010, completed as part of Niagara College's broadcasting program.