ERIC Number: ED236953
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Sep-7
Reference Count: 0
What to Say in a Letter of Recommendation? Sometimes What You Don't Say Matters Most.
Palmer, Stacy E.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v27 n2 p21-22 Sep 7 1983
Letters of recommendation too often do not tell recipients what they need to know about a candidate. The letters may address irrelevant qualities of the candidate or they may discuss only vague generalities. Faced with this problem, many employers prefer telephone interviews; however, people in higher education continue to rely on letters of recommendation. Some suggestions for writing effective letters that have been offered by experienced letter readers are: (1) don't rely on a predetermined list of questions; (2) explain your relationship to the candidate; (3) learn about the candidate's career goals; (4) compare the candidate to others; (5) tailor the letter to the specific position or program being applied for; (6) back up your remarks with details; (7) decline the candidate's request for a letter if you feel uncomfortable about writing it; (8) elaborate on the limitations of the candidate's current position; (9) avoid sexist or racist remarks; (10) watch for phrasing which could be misunderstood; (11) volunteer to provide further information by telephone; (12) keep the letter brief; and (13) end on an upbeat note. (DC)
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Letters of Recommendation; PF Project