Reference letters are a must for graduate studies in Canada and for landing that perfect job after you graduate. A reference letter that shines the spotlight on you is a determining factor in accepting you into a graduate program. It can also be the deciding factor in landing that to-dream-of-job.
So how does a student get a super-duper reference letter?
- Contact your desired referees (not the football variety) in plenty of time so they have time put thought into what they want to write.
- If you need a reference letter for graduate studies in Canada or elsewhere, some universities provide reference letter forms which are a guideline for referees to know what universities are looking for in a graduate student.
- Use of academic referees is preferred for graduate studies but also works well in the workforce. Employers are also good choices.
- The referee is someone who should know you well enough to comment on your work ethics, your research and academic abilities and/or your knowledge and skills. Former supervisors in a lab or on a project and immediate work supervisors are likely candidates for referees. Even an undergraduate student can work in a lab or on a project for a professor so they can build a positive relationship that would make that person a suitable referee for graduate studies or employment. Any collaboration you do, either voluntarily or for salary will help you get that great reference letter you need whether it is for graduate studies or employment in the Canadian employment scene.
Any work you do at university, whether voluntary or salaried is considered work experience and gives you the edge in the Canadian employment sector.
Note that these days most universities require online reference letters that are issued from their admission application system; so a hard copy may not be the preferred method of sending the reference letter. Check university admission requirements prior to getting your referee to do a reference letter and let them know how the university wants the reference letter to be sent.
If you plan on studying in Canada next year, you can use the consulting services of Alberta Rose Education Centre. They have over 28 years in the Canadian university and education sector.