--> divine angst: letters of recommendation

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

letters of recommendation

I already know who I'll ask to write one of my letters of recommendation. That particular letter I am not worried about. I took a class from him last year as a non-traditional, non-degree seeking student, and I also worked in his department. So he's seen me academically and professionally.

No, I'm not worried about that letter. It's the other.

I've been in the workforce for several years, and some schools (Columbia) ask that, if that's the case, at least one of your letters be from your most recent employer.

OK. My current employer has no idea I am applying to law school for next year. And I kind of like it that way. I've only been here five months. He took a chance hiring me. The girl who was hired at the same time as I was, and for the same position, has already left. I hesitate to be that employee—the one who gets the good job and then immediately casts about for something better.

So I don't really want to talk about this with him.

Of course, he'd be a great letter-writer, if he'd say the right things about me. He's got a Ph.D., he oversees me doing work which requires some research and some creativity and a fair amount of initiative. But my job has NOTHING to do with law, and I am not sure he would fairly assess my abilities to go to law school based on what I do now.

I'd much rather ask my last supervisor to write a letter, since I know she'd be incredibly enthusiastic about doing so. But she has drawbacks as well, one of which is her writing ability. Since I edited a lot of her correspondence while I worked for her, I feel like I've got a fair sense of how the letter would be written. She does have an MBA, so perhaps I am being unfair. And she was my boss for four and a half years, which puts her in a better position to talk about my performance than someone who's only known me for a few months.

I was just going to pester one of my undergraduate profs for a letter, figuring that would be better than nothing. And they all really liked me, and I keep in touch with a few of them. But since I've been in the workforce for so long, I really, really need to have a letter from an employer.