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Recommender with little experience writing letters

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Joined: 07 Oct 2011
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Concentration: Social Entrepreneurship
GMAT 1: 710 Q V
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Recommender with little experience writing letters [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2011, 12:31
Howdy GMATclub community,

In my consulting job I have worked very closely with a senior consultant on an ongoing basis, which makes him the best person (aside from my direct supervisor) to speak about my strengths (quantitative, leadership, teamwork, etc.) and how I've developed during my time at the company. Unfortunately, he hasn't written many letters of recommendation in the past and since he works from home I'm afraid he might not have a complete picture of the many contributions I've made outside of project work.

I haven't worked with other consultants that have experience writing letters in a while, and I'd rather risk asking someone with no experience but has a lot more to say than ask someone who I know likes me and knows my strengths but not first hand.

What do you all think? Is this a dumb move? I noticed Stanford has a short guide for recommenders. Are there other good sources out there on writing compelling letters that I could send to my potential recommender?

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Re: Recommender with little experience writing letters [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2011, 01:30
Expert's post
Well, best would be to work with a writing consultant to help you there :)
But quickly: What he doesn't know to write, you can remind him of. Your achievements, progress, success. Tell him to be specific when possible, to write in as an excited manner as possible, and to include as many teamwork and leadership examples as possible (which you may remind him of first)

I think that's a good place to start...

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Re: Recommender with little experience writing letters [#permalink] New post 11 Oct 2011, 04:45
Hey Puff,

We believe that it would purely depend on the time that you’ve at your disposal. If you have no shortage of time, take the longer route and do your own research. If you do a bit of searching on Google you would come across many websites that provide tips on writing recommendation letters. Make sure that you’re using correct keyword combinations :)

On the contrary, if you are short on time take the expert’s route and hire the services of someone who has already been there and done that. The only thing is that you’d need to give them adequate briefing and possibly have a one-on-one conversation with your senior consultant. That would help them in understanding the thoughts in senior consultant’s mind and accordingly come up with a strong recommendation letter.
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Re: Recommender with little experience writing letters [#permalink] New post 17 Oct 2011, 12:18
Expert's post
Hi Puffnstuff,

I hope the following is of help for your recommendation inquiries:

Once you identify potential recommenders, try to spend some “quality time” with these people—potentially even re-establishing ties with someone from a previous job or an old college prof—in order to feel out who would be most jazzed about writing a rec. Believe me, the recommender’s attitude and commitment level are key.

Aim for a good “spread” among your recommenders, so they can write about you from various angles. Getting the partner from the “pharma cost-cutting consulting project” and also the partner from the “chemical cost-cutting consulting project” might not produce the recs that show the full range of your character and capabilities.

In general, I believe you should give these folks about six weeks of advance warning before the deadline and provide them any forms and prep materials three to four weeks before the date you would like the recommendation submitted.

This is no mere “hand-off” of a few Xeroxed photocopied forms, as some folks might believe. This is a task for which you should budget a few hours. All applicants need to figure out what their recs should say and how they should complement the points they themselves bring up in their essays. Even a recommender with the best intentions might end up writing a weak appraisal if it does not dovetail with the “Brand You” that is woven into your essays. For instance, a recommendation that emphasizes your data-gathering and quantitative analysis skills doesn’t do much for you if you tried to establish your “brand” around creativity and dynamic leadership.

Provide your recommenders with a list of anecdotes that will jog their memories. Very specific anecdotes, like “Remember the time on the XYZ negotiation where you said the deal structure I proposed saved the company $10 million?” Some of these anecdotes or “micro-examples” can be things ideas you yourself raise in the essays, while others might be fresh material that only the recommender employs.


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Re: Recommender with little experience writing letters   [#permalink] 17 Oct 2011, 12:18
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