Presentation on theme: "Letters of Recommendation Global “Norming” or Inconvenient “Spoof” John Matzeder Assistant Director, HR Administration, KUMC."— Presentation transcript:
Letters of Recommendation Global “Norming” or Inconvenient “Spoof” John Matzeder Assistant Director, HR Administration, KUMC
Play defense: Employers must be more careful when they address a recommendation letter to a specific potential employer regarding an employee who has been fired or who has quit.
No good deed goes unpunished: The new employer may sue if he or she finds the newly hired individual does not measure up to the assertions made in the letter of recommendation.
Prescription for Immunization: Letters should be brief, stating only absolutely verifiable information concerning the individual, such as length of employment, job description, responsibilities, etc.
Letters of recommendation from employers may contain evidence or confirmation of some or all of the following: Previous positions held in the company Summary of job responsibilities Strengths, skills, and talents Initiative, dedication, integrity, reliability, etc. Ability to work with a team Ability to work independently
Writing a Letter of Recommendation for Someone Else Be honest in your assessment. Put yourself in the reader's position Consider what you would want to know if you were reading the letter.
If you have concerns about specific areas, be up front with the requester when you are asked to write the recommendation. Be honest about your feelings, intentions, and concerns. This will save time and embarrassment for both parties if you feel that you cannot provide a good recommendation.
If you are not sure what to write, ask the requester to provide a draft letter for you to review, edit, finalize, and sign. Find out when the requestor needs the letter and be sensitive to deadlines. Letters of recommendation may be written in a classic format that includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. Letters of Recommendation
There may also be specific requirements for certain letters that you may need to follow. In most cases, however, any well-organized format will be acceptable. Letters of Recommendation
Be specific. Don't just praise the person with generalities (such as "quick learner"), but give specific examples of things the person did to give you that impression. Differentiate. Say how this person is unlike other people: his or her specific strengths. Compare. When writing to someone who shares context with you, name names. ("The best student I've graduated since little Al Turing.")
Be plausible. Don't make the person out to be perfect. Often shortcomings are just ignored, but it can also be reasonable to note some, particularly if the person has started to overcome them. Say how well you know the person, and for how long. This should come at the beginning of the letter.
State your own qualifications. Help calibrate the reader’s scale How many other people of the caliber you are writing for have you yourself seen.
Don't be too brief. One paragraph, or two short paragraphs, is the kiss of death. (If you don't know the student well, and don't have much to say, add a short paragraph explaining what the course is and why it's good that the student excelled in it. This won't fool most people, but will soften the blow of a short letter.) However, don't ramble: make it succinct and to the point.