I had a professor who told me during the year that he'd be happy to write me a letter of recommendation for a research degree I was contemplating applying to. I've since decided to apply.

My university (in Europe) is on break until 1 October. I emailed the professor asking for the letter three weeks ago on his university email address. He hasn't answered me. However, I sent him a connection request on LinkedIn, and he accepted it within 45 seconds. I am thus wondering if he is not checking his university email during our vacation. However, I would like to know if he is willing to write it before October, as waiting until then would give me insufficient time to request one from someone else.

Would it be inappropriate for me to send him a follow-up letter request via LinkedIn, since I know he's checking that? Would it be more appropriate to make reference to the email I sent him, or send my entire request via the messenger? Or should I limit myself to communication via the university email address and just hope he reads it?

  • 2
    You could send a follow up mail, and then maybe ask on LinkedIn if he doesn't respond to the mail.
    – Jihadi
    Aug 18, 2020 at 4:06

2 Answers 2


If someone is on LinkedIn, especially if they are active on LinkedIn, I see no reason why they would be offended if you sent them a message on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional networking site. That would be exactly what you are doing. I would write something straight forward:


I am applying to graduate programs at a few schools. I enjoyed your class in Underwater Heavy Metal Guitar and felt I did well in the class. Would you be willing to write me a letter of recommendation for my graduate program applications?



Three weeks is a long enough time that this professor has likely not seen (or has forgotten about) your email. There is no reason to cower in fear about asking for a letter of recommendation from a professor who said he would write you one. If he is at all reasonable, a simple message on LinkedIn will be just fine.


Too much thinking can be procrastinating. Waiting to take an action will halt the whole thing you want to achieve. At the end, it will either be a yes or a no for recommendation, which will be still better than waiting.

I would recommend you to start with by messaging your professor on linkedIn, maybe a simple 'Hello' type communication.

If you receive a response, ask if he gets a chance to check regarding your recommendation letter.

Again either yes or no. Even if checked or not checked, you can request the possibility to receive it, also specifying the reason that something is at halt because of it.

Make sure you acknowledge and express genuine gratitude how he taught and supported you before closing this conversation on linkedIn.

Again there will be waiting time, and you might check back with him on linkedIn after specified possible time plus maximum of 2 days additionally depending on your comfort-ability. After this point you will be facing the same question again regarding waiting, so read this again and repeat your actions.

  • 5
    Disagree that sending just a "Hello" and nothing else is a good idea in any work-related written communication. Particularly here where one wants to minimize time wasted. Not coming directly to the point will likely decrease the chances of getting any reply.
    – GoodDeeds
    Aug 17, 2020 at 15:03
  • I understand by initiating with just 'Hello' seems to be informal. We will come to know if his professor responses to that 'Hello'.Also since, it is linkedIn messages(chat based system), Probably it create an equal curiosity on professor side to initiate communication without any subject. In this way the author(student), will be more comfortable putting his queries or asking about recommendation as next step. Probably written the whole request letter texts for recommendation in one go doesn't sounds good for me. I think somewhere it might create the same impression about an email already sent.
    – bron10
    Aug 17, 2020 at 15:43
  • For me, at least, I think the person was trying to say a "Hello" type of recommendation, not just a one word "Hello". I interpreted that as meaning "Hello/Hi Prof Name"
    – Daveguy
    Sep 16, 2020 at 19:49
  • @Daveguy I don't think that makes it better, the initial message should include the actual message to be conveyed (here, the request).
    – GoodDeeds
    Sep 16, 2020 at 19:55
  • I meant start with Hello something like that, then address the matter at hand.
    – Daveguy
    Sep 20, 2020 at 16:54

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