Strong letters of recommendation make an essential contribution to any application process, whether to graduate school or for a job. To receive a strong letter of recommendation requires two phases of effort on the part of the applicant.
First, build a track record.
- be punctual, diligent, congenial, and everything else that a person of good character exhibits
- achieve a level of academic excellence worthy of the competitive application process
- develop a portfolio that demonstrates a set of transferable skills applicable to a variety of career paths
- build quality relationships with your professors, your internship supervisors, and your employers so that they will be in a position to help you in two important ways:
- recommend career paths suitable to your particular talents and aspirations; and,
- provide an honestly positive letter of recommendation for you
Second, equip your recommenders to write for you.
- politely request letters of recommendation from mentors who:
- know you personally
- have witnessed your growth amid challenging circumstances
- speak with authority because of their credentials
- provide the following resources to enable your recommenders to tailor their letters to the appropriate audience and include vivid, concrete examples illustrating your strengths as an applicant:
- program title, description, and URL for further information
- name, address, and deadline for submitting the letter
- a copy of your resume or c.v.
- a copy of your personal statement or other similar portion of the application packet
- a reminder of how the recommender knows you (e.g., which classes and in which semesters, in the case of a former professor)
Former students are welcome to contact me to request a letter of recommendation.