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Frankthetank15

Good reference strategies

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Hey gang! 

I'm wondering if anyone has thoughts on how to coax good positive and illuminating forms from the professional, service and academic referees. Obviously I want them to write honest and accurate references, but are there any strategies for reminding people of certain events you think highlight your character well without coming off as manipulative? For examples, I can think of several decisions I made while volunteering that would highlight my desire to help people for the service reference, but I'm not sure how to go about reminding my referee of that event. Any thoughts/ideas are appreciated :)

Cheers

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19 hours ago, Frankthetank15 said:

Hey gang! 

I'm wondering if anyone has thoughts on how to coax good positive and illuminating forms from the professional, service and academic referees. Obviously I want them to write honest and accurate references, but are there any strategies for reminding people of certain events you think highlight your character well without coming off as manipulative? For examples, I can think of several decisions I made while volunteering that would highlight my desire to help people for the service reference, but I'm not sure how to go about reminding my referee of that event. Any thoughts/ideas are appreciated :)

Cheers

You can offer to 1) get together with them to discuss / catch up on things that occurred when you worked with them,  and/or 2) provide a short description of some things you remember or were highlights for you during your time. You can offer this as an option to be helpful, but not force the issue “I.e.Thank you for agreeing to be my reference. If you need any help or ideas for the forms I can ....” etc.

As someone who has written a lot of letters, I think that is the best approach to not come off poorly. I often actually ask students to meet with me or provide me information (CV, some written paragraphs about their time, etc) anyways, unless I know them really well. 

You could potentially include a description of some of your personal highlights from the experience when you contact them to ask for a reference, partly as a way to remind them who you are and why you think they’re a good reference. That could come off as strange if they know you very well and wonder “why are they telling me these things I know”. But I find it helpful sometimes when people include a paragraph or two in their request and I don’t really know them, as it helps me know why they want me for the reference.

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