Suggestions—and requirements—regarding letters of recommendation

Consider the pertinent suggestions (from elsewhere) that I posted here.

Think about whether do want a letter of recommendation from me - am I one of the people who can best speak to the qualities the addressee of the recommendation is looking for? (Some of the items below may help you figure this out.) Readers of letters of recommendation can usually tell when the writer is trying to help but does not really have enough pertinent information to do so.

When you ask me or once I agreed to write a letter of recommendation

Content of the recommendation

Unless you are applying for graduate school in mathematics and I know you from an advanced course in mathematics, please write a rough draft of your letter of recommendation for me.
Don't panic. The letter of recommendation I ultimately send will look almost nothing like your draft.

It will help if your draft or a separate communication tells me as much as you know about what the recipient of the letter of recommendation is looking for. This tends to be clear in cases such as graduate school in mathematics, but in some other cases it may help me to have a clearer idea what the desired qualities are.
Specifically, consider—and tell me the answers to— those questions below that seem pertinent;
in most cases many of these questions are not pertinent, but that does not mean that you should skip any of those that are:

If there is information about you that will not be apparent from my records but that may help me craft a good letter for the purpose at hand, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Please make sure to let me know the deadline for the letter.


Please provide confidentiality waivers and email me For paper letters, please provide via my department mailbox or in person


Until I tell you that I have sent or submitted the letter, please remind me at the following times:
1 month before the deadline,
2 weeks before the deadline,
1 week before the deadline,
4 days before the deadline,
2 days before the deadline,
the day before the deadline,
the day of the deadline.
Hopefully these reminders are not necessary, but I am sure you want to be better safe than sorry (and you can impres me with your project management skills by providing these reminders on schedule).

Usually email is the best way to communicate.