How to Write a Formal Let
British recommendation letters this week. European tenure letters were the bane of my existence. Indeed here is the first comment on FB: Britta Hoyer the German style: So today I share my post on how to write a recommendation letter, American style.
May it produce the hoped-for results. A few of these folks have been letter-writers, but most of them are the sorry subjects of letters that they they were horrified to have had the chance to see.
Others have been asked to write their own recommendation letters by irresponsible and lazy recommenders. I disapprove of this practice completely. They are taken very, very seriously, and pored over, and deconstructed, and discussed.
And sometimes, acknowledged as works of writing in their own right as when I once overheard one tenured colleague say to another: I will first lay out a paragraph structure.
This is just a suggestion. Obviously this kind of writing will be completely personalized. An opening that indicates a general but not excessive warmth. A second paragraph continuing from above about the status of the main writing project.
Pace of work and productivity are valuable here.
Evidence of the wider success of the candidate in the profession—the grant support, awards, and of course publications associated with the primary research. Conference activity can be mentioned here. A brief indication of next steps in research and publishing, so that search committees feel reassured that the candidate has a long-range plan.
Discipline-specific attributes, such as experience in country of research, language fluency, technical skills, or other such things. For example, because I sometimes visited my Ph.
Description of teaching abilities. This will be specific, mentioning course names, and methods used by the candidate, and departmental observations, evaluations, or feedback, to the extent the writer has this information available.
Ideally the writer will have personally witnessed teaching by the candidate. Awards given for teaching should be mentioned. One of my Ph. One of the fears of search committees is that a candidate will be tiresomely focused on their research, and will be unable to assist in the running of the department.
The letter can assuage those fears. This must be non-emotional and strictly non-gendered. Attributes to emphasize include resourcefulness, responsibility, good humor, organization, energy, etc.
For women candidates it is essential to avoid anything that depicts them as any of the following: It will be at least two solid single spaced pages long. It will be on letterhead 3. It will not gush or wax emotional 4. It will stay strictly at the level of evidence and substance 5.
It will not rely on cheap and empty adjectives such incredible, remarkable, extraordinary, amazing, etc. It will emphasize depictions of the candidate as a professional scholar, NOT a graduate student. It will provide specific information or examples about research, argument, methods, teaching, or service—not vague generalities.
The exception to this is as noted in the comment stream: It will be unfailingly although not gushingly positive. In the event that you are ambivalent about the subject, it is better to tell the subject that you cannot write the letter.
When candidates write their own letters, they typically fall afoul of 3 and 5 in particular.Edit Article How to Write a Thesis Statement. In this Article: Article Summary Crafting Great Thesis Statements Getting it Right Finding the Perfect Thesis Community Q&A Whether you’re writing a short essay or a doctoral dissertation, your thesis statement can be .
Anything. What you say doesn’t matter as much as just saying something. Don’t worry about length or content. Even a quick, “Hello, I am thinking about you today!” or “God loves you” can mean the world to your child.
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It’s so painfully accurate that it immediately brought back traumatic memories of my time as a department head. European tenure letters were the bane of my existence. Use these tips when writing a formal letter. In today's Internet- and email-driven society, the need to write a formal letter arises less often than in the past.