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Recommendation Letter Difficulties!!!! Aaahhhhhhh

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Recommendation Letter Difficulties!!!! Aaahhhhhhh [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2014, 07:29
I'm in the process of getting my LOR's completed and am having trouble with the following question:

"Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant's response"

One of my recommenders is my supervisor who I'm sure will be able to come up with something, but my other recommender is the board president of a non-profit I've been sitting on the board at (and actively involved in other areas of the organization) for some time. The problem is that, while I've worked very closely with her over my entire time here, there hasn't really been a time where she's given me substantive constructive feedback (aside from the normal discussions that happen around working together on various projects). As a result, she isn't sure how to answer this question, and neither am I.

I'd really like to stick with her as a recommender because I've worked so closely with her on so many different things at this organization, but am not sure how to tackle this problem. What should I do?

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Re: Recommendation Letter Difficulties!!!! Aaahhhhhhh [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2014, 19:17
Hi Devon,

First of all, it is more important to have meaningful recommendations than major names writing your recommendations so read my feedback through that lens. When thinking of constructive feedback in the past it does not always need to be something that is necessary negative which I think most people naturally gravitate to. Really think of all of your interactions with this recommender and think of how you have worked together. Constructive feedback could be her empowering you on a project or giving you positive feedback because she knew you were having a tough time on a project. Think about all of your interactions. Also, I would explore any feedback she has given you outside of your work on the non-profit like at work, family, or socially. You want to make sure she has meaningful topics to discuss and if she does not then you may have to re-evaluate your choice of recommenders overall and at the very least for this school
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Re: Recommendation Letter Difficulties!!!! Aaahhhhhhh [#permalink]

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New post 21 Aug 2014, 07:16
VeritasPrepDozie wrote:
Hi Devon,

First of all, it is more important to have meaningful recommendations than major names writing your recommendations so read my feedback through that lens. When thinking of constructive feedback in the past it does not always need to be something that is necessary negative which I think most people naturally gravitate to. Really think of all of your interactions with this recommender and think of how you have worked together. Constructive feedback could be her empowering you on a project or giving you positive feedback because she knew you were having a tough time on a project. Think about all of your interactions. Also, I would explore any feedback she has given you outside of your work on the non-profit like at work, family, or socially. You want to make sure she has meaningful topics to discuss and if she does not then you may have to re-evaluate your choice of recommenders overall and at the very least for this school


Thanks for the response. I talked to my direct supervisor to ask him what he was going to say. I think I had this idea in my head of it needing to be some kind of Full House moment where my recommender formally sits me down and gives me explicit advice that I then went and acted on. That's obviously pretty rare, and my supervisor couldn't even come up with anything like that. Granted, he's given me tons of feedback and I've learned a lot working here, but it's always been just really small pieces of feedback that I didn't think were worth writing about.

So we're going to just basically take a small piece of feedback and it'll end up being explained in a way that sounds more profound than it actually was. Such is the nature of the question, I suppose.

Next question on this, I'm obviously concerned about damaging my application by saying shortcomings in my letters, even if they were corrected. The two answers to this question will probably be something like:

1. (Direct Supervisor) - He has learned a lot here and is always eager to get things done. Sometimes this has resulted in mistakes being made, so I explained to him that if there isn't a tight deadline we're trying to meet, make sure to take time and review work before submitting. Since speaking with him his quality of work has vastly improved.

2. (Co-Board Director) - We went through a lot of staffing changes and he was working with his committee in a way that laid too much work on staff, which would have worked great prior to these changes but were causing difficulties on staff work loads. Since explaining this to him he has shifted much of this work from staff to volunteers, and is always considering staff work loads when delegating work.

Are these good types of recommendations? I'm just obviously not that excited about saying that I was making mistakes when I started working here, etc.

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New post 21 Aug 2014, 16:40
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Hi Devon,

I think these can work I think the more important aspect is the color they give to the story to really showcase what the specific scenario was and how you responded to the feedback. The issue is less important than your actual response given ad comm is trying to evaluate you for business school and not your boss so their feedback is less important. The ways you can work with your recommender to couch this is to explain that some of these mistakes are common in your role or systematic of the work you are doing and their high level view as a manager gave them a viewpoint that you as lower level employee could not have possible seen. But again the key here is focusing on how you responded to this feedback in a mature and businesslike way that showcases your future potential as a business person.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Recommendation Letter Difficulties!!!! Aaahhhhhhh [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2017, 04:17
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Re: Recommendation Letter Difficulties!!!! Aaahhhhhhh   [#permalink] 16 Sep 2017, 04:17
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