Growth Trends for Related Jobs

How to Ask Your Principal for a Letter of Reference

careertrend article image

Whether you’re applying for a new job or trying to obtain a grant, scholarship or volunteer position, letters of reference are essential to applications. Ask your principal for a letter of reference, even if it seems daunting at first. The principal is there to be a resource to faculty and should have no problem agreeing to write a reference. Be polite, be respectful and be prepared to discuss why you want the reference before you go in to ask for the favor.

Schedule an appointment with your principal's secretary. Recognize that your principal is a busy professional with a lot going on, just like you, and it's better to make a time to ask her for the letter when neither of you will be distracted by other business. Make sure the appointment is scheduled at least six weeks before you need the letter.

Copy the job, scholarship or position description for which you're applying. Make a copy of your resume and curriculum vitae as well. Create a template to help your principal write the reference letter. Start by outlining your reasons for submitting the application; finish by showing why you're qualified and what you'll contribute.

Dress professionally and bring all your prepared papers to the meeting. Tell your principal what you're applying for and ask if he would be comfortable writing you a reference letter. Explain why you want him to write it for you - that you respect his position and his education or that you think he has a great understanding of what goes on at the school.

Show that you've written an outline explaining your reasons for submitting the application and your strengths. Ask her to describe in the letter specific occasions that showcase your skills, and remind of her of one or two examples. Be clear that you're not trying to write the letter for her or put words in her mouth - you just wanted to give her a starting point. Tell her not to feel obligated to write the letter, but that you would appreciate it. If she agrees, thank her and tell her you'll follow up in two weeks.


Melly Parker has been writing since 2007, focusing on health, business, technology and home improvement. She has also worked as a teacher and a bioassay laboratory technician. Parker now serves as a marketing specialist at one of the largest mobile app developers in the world. She holds a Master of Science in English.

Photo Credits