Although I am about 9 months from applying I have had a question that has been lingering in my head with regard to rec. letters. I recently switched jobs from one biotech company to another. I worked at my last company for two years and by the time I apply I will be a year into my tenure at my current company. Hopefully I can gain the confidence of my manager at my current job to solicit a letter from him. My question is about my former manager. Him and I are on good terms but the problem is, English is his second language. I have asked for a rec. letter before from him, and he has been more than happy to give me one but when he has allowed me to read them they are fraught with grammatical and idiomatic errors. And even if you get past that, they sound a bit "luke warm". My question is will adcom people look at my application suspiciously if the rec letter I get from my last company is someone other than my supervisor? Will they care if my current supervisor writes me a letter or is that something I will have to explain.
Good questions. Regarding your previous manager and employer, if he writes "luke warm" recs in poor English, try to find someone else to write the LOR form your previous employer. From your post it doesn't sound as if he would be receptive to coaching, so I would look elsewhere. You don't have to walk on water in the rec, but the recommender should be enthusiastic. To me that's more of an issue than his English.
They prefer recommendations from supervisors, but they understand that frequently applicants can't ask their current supervisor. Just include a brief explanation.
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