Recommendation letter

posted
16-May-17, 13:18
by emaa 1 star member
Avatar for emaa
posted about 4 months ago
Hi there,

I definded my thesis on refugee law two years ago and published it as a book. I did not seaech for work the first year after my PhD because I have small twina. I have been in job search process for one year now without any result. I asked my supervisor to write a recommendation letter for me hoping this would support my profile. As my supervisor is very busy, she asked me to make a draft of the letter. In fact, I have no idea what to write in it, any advice is very wellcomed 😊 thank you in advance
posted
16-May-17, 13:47
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 4 months ago
This is really odd for a supervisor to request you write the letter for them. I would have expected them to have written many by now, for undergrads and PhD students. I've written about 10 references so far this year!

It's also difficult to write it from your perspective, since it should sound personal.

Here's some resources that might help:

http://www.seanclancy.org/resume/graduate-research-advisor-recommendation-letter/

http://users.clas.ufl.edu/msscha/writing_recommendations.doc

https://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/documents/equality/HHMI_WriteReference.pdf

https://www.press.umich.edu/pdf/9780472031887-appendixg.pdf
posted
16-May-17, 14:46
edited a moment later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 months ago
I've heard of it before. I suspect it isn't because they haven't written one before, but rather because they consider themselves too busy to write one, and would rather just sign one off. The practise does seem a bit questionable, but then so many things are in academia.

Just list all the stuff you did and the kinds of things you would want your supervisor to comment on in the letter - such as attention to detail, professionalism, etc. Then draft it into a letter based on some of the ones you can find online. Hopefully your ex sup will at least edit it so that it is a bit in their style.

Good luck
posted
16-May-17, 18:14
edited about 13 seconds later
by Hugh 2 star member
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 4 months ago
My supervisor also asked me to write one and then edited it from excellent to just good. The cheek.
posted
16-May-17, 18:25
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 months ago
That's a right cheek!
posted
16-May-17, 18:39
edited about 54 minutes later
by emaa 1 star member
Avatar for emaa
posted about 4 months ago
Thank you very much for your replies.. Treeoflife, you are right, it is very difficult to write it from my perspective. I do not know how to describe myself. I think she is, as a supervisor, who can say what are my positive points. Her reply makes me very sad, if she does not have one hour to write a recommendation letter for me, how the other professors would have 5 minutes to read my emails and consider my CV for a postdoc.
posted
16-May-17, 18:45
edited about 28 seconds later
by emaa 1 star member
Avatar for emaa
posted about 4 months ago
Thank you Tudor-Queen. My ex sup is really busy, I know this but I would have appreciated if she wrote a few short sentences for me, rather than put me in this situation.
posted
16-May-17, 18:49
by emaa 1 star member
Avatar for emaa
posted about 4 months ago
Hugh.. what a cheek!! Was s/he like this as a supervisor?
posted
16-May-17, 18:52
edited about 9 seconds later
by Hugh 2 star member
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 4 months ago
Quote From emaa:
Hugh.. what a cheek!! Was s/he like this as a supervisor?


yes. I'm just glad it is over now :)
posted
16-May-17, 19:32
edited about 26 seconds later
by emaa 1 star member
Avatar for emaa
posted about 4 months ago
yes. I'm just glad it is over now :)[/quote]

Congratulations.. My ex supervisor was great. She has been always very nice. I am sure she asked me tp write the draft because she is very busy.. but this task is harder than the thesis itself 😕
posted
16-May-17, 22:34
edited about 3 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 months ago
Just really go to town on how great you are! Teach her a lesson!
posted
17-May-17, 13:50
by Pjlu 4 star member
Avatar for Pjlu
posted about 4 months ago
Hi there, I understand both that writing your own reference letter could be difficult and frustrating/upsetting. It may be though that if, as you say Emaa, your supervisor is really nice, it isn't just about saving time. She may also be asking you to draft the letter because you have more of an idea than her about what criteria you want the reference to address-meaning how to target it specifically for specific roles or audiences, so that you really sell yourself, your skills and what you would bring to that particular job/role.

So you write your letter, looking at the specifications of the job (or types of positions) you are applying for and addressing the key criteria, explaining how your skills and strengths match these criteria. Then once this is sent to supervisor, she individualises, modifies and endorses this statement or reference letter for you personally, based on her (hopefully objective) assessment/perception of its accuracy.

Having said this, perhaps you need to really think about what you want your profile to say about yourself, your skill set and experiences and abilities and how they fit the sorts of jobs/positions you would like to gain, and then draft these up into a statement about yourself. Send this to the supervisor and she will adapt this to a reference that she has endorsed and modified to be a testimonial. Best of luck, hope this helps...it can be very hard to talk yourself up in this way if you are not used to this sort of process. Don't second guess or doubt yourself, be bold, send it to her and see what results.
posted
17-May-17, 14:13
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 months ago
Excellent and sensible advice from Pjlu! I was by the way only joking about teaching her a lesson!
posted
17-May-17, 19:45
edited about 1 minute later
by emaa 1 star member
Avatar for emaa
posted about 4 months ago
Thank you very much Pjlu!! I have already started doubting myself, particularly after I read the recommendation letter my friend's supervisor wrote for him. I got high grade in my PhD degree and passed the viva with minor corrections and the jury were very positive, but sitting at home for two years doing nothing except taking care of my small kids has affected my view of myself 😔.
Can I write a general recommendation letter starts with "to whom it may concerned"?
posted
18-May-17, 12:16
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 4 months ago
No, I think you will need to adapt to whomever you are sending it, it will be better received if it is addressed to someone personally.

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