Letters of Recommendation

Advice needed. Among the letters of recommendation I am asking for there are two who may not be as accustomed to writing these as are university professors. I am going to ask for letters from my boss and another from the CEO of the medical clinic that I volunteer at and sit on the board of.

I am going to give each a packet of tailored information like a personal statement, resume, etc…

Has anyone asked for letters like these before? What would you recommend I include in the packet? What if someone is an atrocious writer yet has worthwhile things to say in a letter? Any other general advice?


Funny–I just had this exact conversation with some of my colleagues in physician recruiting. It’s a subject that definitely takes some finesse… and while I haven’t had to cross that bridge yet, I am already considering how to handle it.

I’m sure others will have more expert advice–but consider making a list of all the personal attributes that the program(s) you are applying for value and weigh in their selection process. Make sure you (and the letter writer) have a firm grasp on how you exemplify those attributes… give the letter writer a list, and just let them know what is important to highlight. Depending on how well that person knows you, the list of attributes may be all they need (i.e. just a little direction on focus). If they don’t know you as well, you may want to also include some examples that prove how you exemplify those attributes…

Just be very specific when making your request, and choose wisely. If you fear that someone may not be able to communicate well, it may not be worth the risk.

If a person agrees to write for you, he/she is usually eager to help you be successful–so help them help you! It sounds like you are already preparing to do that (with your packet), so you should be fine!

My friend wrote an article on this recently (which is what sparked our original conversation)… maybe there’s something in there that may give you some ideas?

http://www.practicelink.com/magazine/featured/wil l…

I found it to be a great read… hope you find it helpful!

I asked for LoR’s from the CIO of my client (hospital in Chicago) and a former boss of mine. After they agreed, I put together docs like resume, FAQ’s, personal statement, and the signed waiver that had instructions (form provided by my school’s pre-health office). I asked them in Jan and gave them plenty of time to do it (told them to submit by May) so they don’t feel rushed.

My FAQ’s sheet had questions like: why med school, why now, why not be X or Y instead, and what kind of doc. Basically, all the questions that everyone seems to ask.

My school’s pre-health office said they review all letters for spelling/grammar and will go back to the person if they feel that corrections need to be made.

Thanks for all of your help!!