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How to approach someone for a recommendation?

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How to approach someone for a recommendation? [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2008, 18:02
Hi

I have a quick question. I want to ask one of my past bosses for a recommendation. I haven't talked to this person in almost 2 years and I was wondering what approach I should use. Any ideas?

I'm planning to call her however not sure what I should say.

Thanks
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Re: How to approach someone for a recommendation? [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2008, 18:35
I hate to say it but if you havent worked for them in two years you may want to reevaluate your choice of recommenders. The best recommenders are the ones who can speak to your current abilities and where you are these days in relation to your peers. Also the person may not have the best memory and may not have the best examples and materials to write convincing essays.
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Re: How to approach someone for a recommendation? [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2008, 18:59
Quote:
I hate to say it but if you havent worked for them in two years you may want to reevaluate your choice of recommenders. The best recommenders are the ones who can speak to your current abilities and where you are these days in relation to your peers. Also the person may not have the best memory and may not have the best examples and materials to write convincing essays.


Interesting topic that you brought up river. I have a different perspective to bring to the table which may or may not be correct but might provide a different viewpoint on the subject.

I will have 4 years of work experience at the time of my proposed matriculation (Fall '09). 3 years at my current job and 1 year at my first job. My thought process was that 1 rec from each place would be of benefit to me so that adcoms would see that although I spent only 1 year at a company, my manager still held me in high regard. I think this differentiates candidates from someone who couldn't cut the mustard at the first job or potentially left on bad terms as opposed to someone that pursued another position that was a better fit/challenge. For this reason I had intended to have a recommender from each place of employment, but maybe both recommenders coming from my current job would be a better idea. Thanks for your input- definitely something to think about! Does anyone else have an opinion on this matter?
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Re: How to approach someone for a recommendation? [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2008, 19:29
icon wrote:
Quote:
I hate to say it but if you havent worked for them in two years you may want to reevaluate your choice of recommenders. The best recommenders are the ones who can speak to your current abilities and where you are these days in relation to your peers. Also the person may not have the best memory and may not have the best examples and materials to write convincing essays.


Interesting topic that you brought up river. I have a different perspective to bring to the table which may or may not be correct but might provide a different viewpoint on the subject.

I will have 4 years of work experience at the time of my proposed matriculation (Fall '09). 3 years at my current job and 1 year at my first job. My thought process was that 1 rec from each place would be of benefit to me so that adcoms would see that although I spent only 1 year at a company, my manager still held me in high regard. I think this differentiates candidates from someone who couldn't cut the mustard at the first job or potentially left on bad terms as opposed to someone that pursued another position that was a better fit/challenge. For this reason I had intended to have a recommender from each place of employment, but maybe both recommenders coming from my current job would be a better idea. Thanks for your input- definitely something to think about! Does anyone else have an opinion on this matter?


Yes, but I think the key here is that it seems you made such an impact and had the type of relationship with your employer that he definitely will distinctly remember you after 4 years. If you hadn't talked for a few years (which by itself might be ok if your employer still distinctly remembers you and your contributions) AND you were nervous about contacting him, then that probably indicates that this employer is likely not a good choice for a strong recommendation.
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Re: How to approach someone for a recommendation? [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2008, 19:42
smkrn wrote:
icon wrote:
Quote:
I hate to say it but if you havent worked for them in two years you may want to reevaluate your choice of recommenders. The best recommenders are the ones who can speak to your current abilities and where you are these days in relation to your peers. Also the person may not have the best memory and may not have the best examples and materials to write convincing essays.


Interesting topic that you brought up river. I have a different perspective to bring to the table which may or may not be correct but might provide a different viewpoint on the subject.

I will have 4 years of work experience at the time of my proposed matriculation (Fall '09). 3 years at my current job and 1 year at my first job. My thought process was that 1 rec from each place would be of benefit to me so that adcoms would see that although I spent only 1 year at a company, my manager still held me in high regard. I think this differentiates candidates from someone who couldn't cut the mustard at the first job or potentially left on bad terms as opposed to someone that pursued another position that was a better fit/challenge. For this reason I had intended to have a recommender from each place of employment, but maybe both recommenders coming from my current job would be a better idea. Thanks for your input- definitely something to think about! Does anyone else have an opinion on this matter?


Yes, but I think the key here is that it seems you made such an impact and had the type of relationship with your employer that he definitely will distinctly remember you after 4 years. If you hadn't talked for a few years (which by itself might be ok if your employer still distinctly remembers you and your contributions) AND you were nervous about contacting him, then that probably indicates that this employer is likely not a good choice for a strong recommendation.


Good point. Hadn't really considered that aspect. I love the open discussion of this forum and getting to hear viewpoints from different perspectives. When you put it that way, it really does seem like MBA2BEE would be best served by getting both his recs from his current managers.

So in my situation, both rec's from current managers or 1 from current manager and 1 from old manager? Opinions anyone?
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Re: How to approach someone for a recommendation? [#permalink] New post 10 Jul 2008, 20:14
Well like most things application related, there isn't always one single answer. I think you need to know the program you're applying to. In my (limited) experience, some schools care more about how far in the past your interaction with recommenders has been than others. For example, I think it is really to your benefit to use the most recent (and of course impressive) recommenders/recommandations as possible at MIT. But other schools care less about the timeframe (within reason of course) and more about how well the recommender can speak to your strengths, experience, and impact (I got this impression from HBS).

But always remember that the most important aspect for a letter of recommendation is to pick recommenders that know you well, that can speak to your strengths, that can talk about specific experiences and accomplishments, and so on.

And I would suggest that if you do pick two recommenders from your current company, try to get two that have different types of interaction with you. Try to avoid getting two similar recommendations.

So like I said, there's not really a single best answer. You've got to take all of these points into consideration and figure out what works best for your specific application. That's my opinion, take it for what it's worth.
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Re: How to approach someone for a recommendation? [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2008, 02:23
I am attaching the recommender form from Kellogg last year. All schools ask very similar questions. Honestly I dont think someone with 4 years experience would be best served by using someone they worked for, for one year, and the first year at that.

They want leadership experience, growth compared to others, all sorts of stuff that its useful to have as long a frame of reference and the most current view point on. So unless that person continued to mentor you after you left thats probably not the best person. Like I said schools care more about where you are now than where you were 3+ years ago. There are plenty of people who rise fast at first then come to a halt and show no progress while others continue to advance.
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Kellogg Class of 2010...still active and willing to help. However, I do not do profile reviews, don't offer predictions on chances and am far to busy to review essays, so save the energy of writing me a PM seeking help for these. If I don't respond to a PM that is not one of the previously mentioned trash can destined messages, please don't take it personally I get so many messages I have a hard to responding to most. The more interesting, compelling, or humorous you message the more likely I am to respond.

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Re: How to approach someone for a recommendation? [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2008, 02:57
Also, another issue to consider is, is the recommender going to be easily approachable during the process? Working in the same company at least somewhat makes it easier - even with that sometimes busy recommenders are difficult to find when deadlines are looming. Take into account, you will probably need to "gently" remind them at least a couple of times.
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Re: How to approach someone for a recommendation? [#permalink] New post 11 Jul 2008, 06:48
hsampath wrote:
Also, another issue to consider is, is the recommender going to be easily approachable during the process? Working in the same company at least somewhat makes it easier - even with that sometimes busy recommenders are difficult to find when deadlines are looming. Take into account, you will probably need to "gently" remind them at least a couple of times.


I agree, vote early and vote often.

That is let them know WELL in advance and provide kind reminders throughout. if you give them like 2-3 months notice, they will feel that they are responsible if it is a few weeks before the deadline and they haven't done squat. If you give them only 3 weeks notice, they're going to be flat out be pissed off because then you are really putting some more pressure on them and potentially conflicting with meetings, vacations, personal events, etc. As I also said, kindly remind them along the way. I found that the backhand method to doing so was just providing an update of my own. "I just wanted to give you an update and let you know that I'm almost done with Ross" or "I've finished 2 out of the 5 schools." They'll feel obligated to provide an update of their own.
Re: How to approach someone for a recommendation?   [#permalink] 11 Jul 2008, 06:48
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