How do I approach potential letter writers? First, make a list of professors and/or supervisors who will be your best advocates. Then, set up an appointment to discuss your request in person. Do not make the request via email. Be prepared to articulate your interest and reasons for attending graduate school. Letters of recommendation are written strictly on a voluntary basis. The best approach is to ask potential letter writers if they are willing to write you a strong letter. If you sense reluctance or the answer is no, ask someone else.
Target the recommendation. Is it for an academic post, a job, a volunteer position, a background check, or a personal reference? Write your letter so that it is focused on this purpose. For example, if the letter is part of a job application package, it should focus on the professional qualifications and conduct of the candidate.