I had worked under a supervisor in 2015 and that year I asked a recommendation letter from him for a Ph.D. He wrote it very well. On 2016, I again asked him for one and he sent me again. Both of the times my application was unsuccessful. This year I had applied for a very prestigious scholarship again and I have been shortlisted. While applying they asked for the name of the referee and they said they will send a request to submit a reference letter to the referee if the applicant is shortlisted. So the scholarship committee already sent the professor a request mail. I did not expect that I will be shortlisted so I did not inform my referees earlier. Now I am confused how to write him an email and ask him if he can write one for me again? The professor is really good and helpful. We did not have any contact these years which made me feel awkward to write him.
If, as you state, they are sending the request, then you need do nothing - the professor will receive a polite request for a reference from your possible future employer and the professor will reply to it - positively from what you have written. You don't need to get involved.
Point raised by a comment below: The system of the employer/institution sending out requests themselves directly to the referees is to help reduce or avoid "collusion" between the candidate and the reference provider. Of course, whether this has ever happened is a different question....
When some employers/institutions ask for 3 or sometimes more referees which they state they will contact, then they have the choice of which ones they will use.
Shouldn't be a big deal. He will likely just send the same one he has on file. Send him an email and politely ask for the help like the below.
Dear Professor Y,
Thanks for your kind letters twice before. I am now a second year Ph.D. student at Fantasy University, working on a thesis in widget design. It is going well--my training from you and the rest of the ESU staff is being put to use.
I have another request, this time for the SooperDuper Fellowship, which will support me financially at FU. Actually I have already been shortlisted, so chances are good.
Could you please send copy of your earlier letter to support me with SooperDuper? Submission details:
- how/where to send
- due date
Once again, thanks for your kind help. Would love to stay in contact.