Shadow writing own letter of recommendation.

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PotLuck
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Shadow writing own letter of recommendation.

Postby PotLuck » Wed Apr 08, 2015 12:48 pm

hey all,

My boss requested that I write my own letter of recommendation and he will proof read it, change it as necessary, and sign it. I was wondering how common this is. Also how should I go about doing this? I'm afraid of sounding too smug or on the flip side too humble. Any advice?

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Shadow writing own letter of recommendation.

Postby Capitol_Idea » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:02 pm

One of the recommendations I got through work did a similar thing, although he asked me to give a bullet point list of the areas I wanted him to focus on and then he did the final drafting. This is, I think, ideally what you want - it should be his belief in you but phrased to maximally improve your chances.

One suggestion: Have a quick 10 minute meeting with him to discuss. Use this time to let him know what major areas of your time working under him on which you want to focus, and solicit his honest feedback about those areas. If he gives glowing praise, then it's not weird to put that in the letter you shadow-write. If he's a little more circumspect, then you know where to tone it down a little when you draft it.

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ILoveYou
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Re: Shadow writing own letter of recommendation.

Postby ILoveYou » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:07 pm

This is pretty common. I wouldn't worry too much about being too humble or anything. It sounds like you have a pretty good relationship with your boss, so you might get a few ideas from him as to what he might highlight if he wrote it himself and work from there. I've actually done this before, and it worked out really well for both me (obviously) and my recommender, who was very enthusiastic about helping me out, but was just too busy to set aside an hour to write the thing. Instead, we spoke for about 10 minutes, then I wrote it up for her, and she printed it on her letterhead and signed it without any edits. Remember that you want to come off as good as possible in this letter, so while statements like "PotLuck is the best, smartest, most mature employee I have ever had" are pretty awfully transparent, things more along the lines of "PotLuck consistently exceeds expectations" etc. are great.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Shadow writing own letter of recommendation.

Postby Desert Fox » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:18 pm

I wrote two of mine and nobody noticed. It's very common.

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kray
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Re: Shadow writing own letter of recommendation.

Postby kray » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:19 pm

zacharus85 wrote:One suggestion: Have a quick 10 minute meeting with him to discuss.


I second this. My boss asked me the same thing, and I felt pretty uncomfortable about it -- I just had such a hard time actually writing it, even though I knew what aspects I would want to highlight. I stopped into his office and asked him what about my work he is most impressed by or would want to highlight. He ended up giving a few good things for me to shape a recommendation around. I ended up giving up and asking him to just write it though, which he laughed and did. We have a closer relationship though, so not sure if that is always an option.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: Shadow writing own letter of recommendation.

Postby Capitol_Idea » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:25 pm

Desert Fox wrote:I wrote two of mine and nobody noticed. It's very common.


DF was so considerate, he didn't even bother the recommenders to sign or let them know they were recommending him in the first place.

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Desert Fox
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Re: Shadow writing own letter of recommendation.

Postby Desert Fox » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:30 pm

zacharus85 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I wrote two of mine and nobody noticed. It's very common.


DF was so considerate, he didn't even bother the recommenders to sign or let them know they were recommending him in the first place.


NU adcom "I thought PResident Reagan was dead, but he says he loves him this Desert Fox guy?"

PotLuck
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Re: Shadow writing own letter of recommendation.

Postby PotLuck » Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:35 am

Thanks for all of the input. I'm having the hardest time writing this thing. Anyone have any examples I can get ideas from? I'm not looking to plagiarize or anything like that, but more in terms of a skeletal outline.

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Avian
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Re: Shadow writing own letter of recommendation.

Postby Avian » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:10 pm

PotLuck wrote:Thanks for all of the input. I'm having the hardest time writing this thing. Anyone have any examples I can get ideas from? I'm not looking to plagiarize or anything like that, but more in terms of a skeletal outline.

In my opinion there are a few things a good letter should do. It should paint a very strong picture of the applicant as someone who would succeed in the new work environment. It should also explain the basis for the recommender's opinion, to show that the person can speak authoritatively to the applicant's qualifications. Ideally a recommender should be able to talk about supervising the candidate closely or otherwise be very familiar with their work or personality. The recommendation should also include mention of specific example(s) that illustrates something the applicant worked on that that the recommender was impressed by and/or demonstrated positive characteristics.

Emphasize skills and positive characteristics. Don't be afraid to be very positive, but avoid being unrealistic or blatantly over-the-top. As someone mentioned, it's not that uncommon that the person will just sign your letter as is. You want them to tone it down if they need to, not sell yourself short.

A very basic structure would be to (1) introduce the recommender and how they know the applicant, (2) talk positively about the applicant with examples and details, (3) summarize and close.




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