Gathering Letters of Recommendation
For your academic job search (or to apply for fellowships), you will need at least three letters of recommendation. These should be written by people who know your research and teaching well enough to address these in detail in their letters. You will want your letters of recommendation to be confidential, which means that you will not read them. Confidential letters of recommendation are more credible to potential employers.
Make life easy for yourself and your recommenders by doing a few things:
- Ask for your letter well in advance of your deadline(s).
- Be sure to give your recommender a deadline that predates the institution’s or organization’s deadline (i.e., if all of your materials need to be submitted by October 15, ask your recommender to complete the letter by October 1).
- Send your recommenders the most current version of your CV and any other job search documents you may have prepared. This will help them as they write their letters.
- If there’s something specific (e.g., your teaching or a research project) that you would like a recommender to mention, ask.
- Gently remind your recommenders that your deadline is approaching if you haven’t heard from them (or don’t see their letter in Interfolio).
Interfolio Online Dossier Service
Many Graduate Center students and alumni use Interfolio to manage the process of sending out letters of recommendation. Interfolio gives you control over when your letters go out and confirms when they have been sent.
- “Dos and Don’ts for the Academic Job Search: Letters of Recommendation” from Gradhacker
- “Getting Great Letters of Recommendation” by Richard M. Reis in The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Letters of recommendation advice from UC Berkeley