Graduate Schools and Career Opportunities
Prospective employers, (businesses, government agencies, etc. -- for summer work or longer term positions), Graduate Schools, Professional Schools and others frequently request letters of reference from faculty members. When requesting such letters it is courteous to consult the faculty member, then submit a properly addressed & stamped envelope containing a reference form (if required). Be sure your name is inside the envelope!
Better, more specific, recommendations are possible (with less drain upon the instructor's time and memory) if the student presents a single-page resume of interests, activities, general aims, and a brief reminder or two of specific courses taken from (even papers written for) the instructor, when requesting a letter of reference. Such resumes are especially significant if you request letters of reference a number of years after graduation. (We can probably find the grade book, but the extra-special paper you wrote may not rise to consciousness very clearly unless memory is refreshed!)