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首页 How to Write an Effective Letter of Recommendati…

How to Write an Effective Letter of Recommendation.pdf

How to Write an Effective Lette…

ledni
2011-08-13 0人阅读 举报 0 0 暂无简介

简介:本文档为《How to Write an Effective Letter of Recommendationpdf》,可适用于求职简历领域

ASCBNEWSLETTERMAYHowtoWriteanEffectiveLetterofRecommendationTheletterofrecommendationisaubiquitousfeatureofthatquaintcustomofacademiclifeanddeathknownas“appointmentsandpromotions”Inprinciple,lettersofrecommendationshouldprovideimportantinsightsintoacandidate’scharacter,scientificaccomplishments,potential,personality,andgeneralabilitiesHoweverwellintentioned,toomanylettersfallshortofthisgoalAlltoooftenlettersarenearlyuselessItisregrettablebothforthecandidatesandforinstitutionalcommitteeswhenlettersfailtoprovideaccurate,fair,ortransparentlyhonestassessmentsorfailtoplacethecandidateinproperperspectiverelativetohisherplaceinthefieldAlthoughmanyofushavecometounderstandthis,committeegroupdynamicalltoooftenresultsinlettersbeingusedasdefactodecisionmakingtools:candidatesaredismissedifaletterisdeemedtocontaincodednegatives,dangeroussincenotallletterwritersornationalitiesusethesamecodeAlternatively,candidatescanbeelevatedbyunexplainedlaudatorycommentsfromwellknownluminariesThis,too,isdangerous,sincenotalllettersarethoughtful,andmanywritersareafraidtosayanythingthatitisatallnegativeItisalsoeasierandlesstimeconsumingtobepositivethantoprovidethoughtfulcriticisms,especiallyforbusyluminariesAsuccessfulletterimpartsthewriter’senthusiasmforanindividual,butdoessorealistically,sympathetically,andwithactualdatatosupportthewriter’scontentionsItalsogivesthereaderwhathesheneedstomakeawisedecision,andtriestoconvincethereaderthatyou,thewriter,knowwhatyouaretalkingaboutAlso,rememberyourowncredibilityandjudgmentareatstakeTheprinciplethatguidesnearlyeveryaspectofthisapproachisalsothesimplest:writewhatyouknowThebetterawriterknowstheworkofthecandidate,thebettertheresultingletterThatdoesnotmeanthattheletterwillbemore“positive”,butratherthatitwillbemorehonestandtransparent,describingandbalancingtheAsuccessfulletterimpartsthewriter’senthusiasmforanindividual,butdoessorealistically,sympathetically,andwithactualdatatosupportthewriter’scontentionsWOMENinCellBiologyvariousattributesandlimitationsofthecandidateAssuch,itwillprovidemoreusefulinformationtothecommitteeEveryonehasgoodpointsandnotsogoodpoints,andunlessthewriteracknowledgesanddescribestheseclearlyandfairly,theresultingletterislesslikelytohaveanimpactTheletterwillalsobebestreceivedifitiswritteninanengagingfashionThishelpsdistinguishyourletterandcandidate,andalsokeepsthereviewersfromfallingasleepAnenthusiasticallypositiveletterthatisuncriticalmayhavelessinfluencethanamorebalancedletterthatisthoughtfulandpersonalIronically,beingfullyhonestaboutstrengthsandweaknessesallowsthewritertobepositiveabouteverybody,butinawaythatallowsyoutodemonstrateclearlywhyyouarepositiveToparaphrasemyfirstcreativewritingteacher:nevertellwhatyoucanshowHerearethegeneralrulesofconstructingalmostanyletterofrecommendation:■OnlywriteaboutpeopleyouknowAseniorinvestigatorhasanobligationofcoursetowriteforanyformerstudent,fellow,orstaffmemberOntheotherhand,oneshouldbeselectiveaboutwritingonbehalfofcolleagueswhomaybeinone’sfieldbutwhoseworkisnotwellknowntothewriterIfapotentialwriterhastoreadtheCVtofindoutwhosomeoneisandwhattheyhavedone,thenthewritermaynotbequalifiedThisisalsothemessagethatshouldbecommunicatedbacktotheoriginatoroftherequestItisoftenuseful,however,toreviewtheCVandinterestsofeventheclosestcolleagueBeforebeginningtowrite,reflectabitontheindividual,hisherhistoryandcontributions,andyourrelationshipwiththeperson(wineorsomethingevenstrongeroftenhelpsatthisstageoftheprocess)■SummarizewhatyouknowaboutthecandidateandwhyBeginwithaparagraphintroducingthecandidate,howyouknowthem,Itisregrettablebothforthecandidatesandforinstitutionalcommitteeswhenlettersfailtoprovideaccurate,fair,ortransparentlyhonestassessmentsorfailtoplacethecandidateinproperperspectiverelativetohisherplaceinthefieldMAYASCBNEWSLETTERtheirinfluenceonthefield,andtheirmostimportantscientificandpersonalcharacteristicsRemember,noteveryonecanbethebestpostdocorstudentyouhaveeverhadCommitteesknowthis,sosuchstatementscanappeargratuitous:theyshouldbestatedonlyiftheyareliterallytrueIfyoudomakeacommentlike,“Clioisoneofthebeststudentsevertohavewalkedthefaceoftheearth”,therestofthelettermustprovidecrediblesupportingevidenceforthisclaimThegoalistodemonstratethatthewriterknowsthecandidatewellenoughtomakeaninformedjudgment,andthatthejudgmentisobjectiveYouwantreaderstotakeyouropinionseriouslyIfnot,whywastetimewritinginthefirstplace■Summarizethecandidate’sworkanditscontextWriteone,two,orsometimesevenseveralparagraphsaboutthesubject’sworkOnehopesthatthecommitteealreadyknowswhatthecandidatedoes,butthisisnotalwaysthecase(evenifnooneadmitsit)Moreover,andmoreimportantly,ithelpstodefinethepersonintheeyesofthereadersDonotenumeratefactsandspecifics,individualpapers(pointingoutthenumberofSciencepaperspublishedisobnoxious),ordescribeeverylastdiscoverythispersonhasmadePresentthebigpicture,butwithoutbeingsuperficialThisdoesagreatserviceforyourcandidate:havingaknowledgeable“expert”placethecandidate’sworkinthecontextofthefieldissomethingacandidatecanneverdohimherselfwithoutappearingobsequious,selfserving,orunctuousClearlydiscusshowthecandidatehasadvancedunderstandingandinwhatareasByfar,themostimportantpieceofinformationtoprovideistheextenttowhichsomeone’sworkhasinfluencedthefieldortheworkofothersevenunknowinglyIfyoucansaythatapersonhasdonethisateverystageoftheircareer(student,postdoc,juniorfacultymember),thatisthesinglemostimportantpieceofinformationyoucanrelaytoacommitteeThereforespendmostofyourtimeandcaresupportingyourcontentionthatthecandidatecanwalkonwater(oratleastwadethroughit)Thisisalsoachancetopresentthecandidate’ssupportersonacommitteewithprepackagedevidence(yes,academicslikesoundbites)tosupporttheirviewsindiscussionBeaslaudatoryandenthusiasticaspossibleinthissection,sinceenthusiasmwillalwaysbeselflimitedbythestarkrealityofanindividual’saccomplishments■Summarizethecandidate'spersonalityDoeshesheplaywellwithothersHavetheybeenanimportantmemberofthelaboratoryorscientificcommunityAretheygenerouswithtimeandeffortGiveexamplesSayingsomeoneisawonderfulpersonisnotenoughsincewithoutevidence,youarealmosttelegraphingthattheyareanythingbutwonderfulIftheindividualinquestionisabitshy,cantankerous,argumentative,ortellsbadjokesfeaturesthatwillcomeoutsoonenoughinaninterviewalwaysrevealthisinwriting,tohelpmitigatetheproblembeforehand…thatis,assumingtheproblemcanbemitigated■DiscussextenuatingcircumstancesIfacandidatehashadpersonaldifficultiestoovercomethathadaneffectonhishercareerprogress(children,illnessorfamilyissues),orillustratesanaspectofpersonalmotivation,bringitupItcanbedifficultforthecandidatetodoso,andreaderslikesomepersonalinsightsObviously,donotrevealdetailsthatmightbeoftoopersonalanature,orhavenothingtodowiththeprofessionalconsiderationsathand■Evaluatethecandidate’spotentialAlsocriticalishowthewriterfeelsthecandidatewilldointhefuture,asanindependentinvestigator,postdoc,orrecipientofagrantorawardHereagain,itispossibletodiscussthistopiclogicallyandwithobjectivesupport:howdoesthepicturepaintedleadtothisconclusion■Evaluatethecandidate’s“suitability”Considertheplacethecandidatewishestogo,ortheobjectiveofthegrantfellowshipprogramtowhichheshehasappliedLeveragethatknowledgetoexplainwhythecandidateisagoodmatchforthejobandinstitutionAsalways,itismuchmoreeffectiveto“show”this,ratherthansimplytostateitIfthefactualinformationdoesnotsufficientlysupportthesuitabilityargument,orifthewritercannotlogicallyindicategoodreasonsforwhythepersonisagoodmatch,thecommitteedoesnothavetoreadbetweenthelines,sincethelineswillsimplybemissingOfcourse,toensurethis,afutureessaywillconsider,“howtoreadaletterofrecommendation”■IraMellmanNoteveryonecanbethebestpostdocorstudentyouhaveeverhadCommitteesknowthis,sosuchstatementscanappeargratuitous:theyshouldbestatedonlyiftheyareliterallytrueDonotenumeratefactsandspecifics,individualpapers(pointingoutthenumberofSciencepaperspublishedisobnoxious),ordescribeeverylastdiscoverythispersonhasmadeIfthewritercannotlogicallyindicategoodreasonsforwhythepersonisagoodmatch,thecommitteedoesnothavetoreadbetweenthelines,sincethelineswillsimplybemissing

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