November 14, 2015
Is there a secret code for letters of recommendation?
Orgtheory - On this blog I’ve been told to avoid certain things in letters of recommendation. For example, “hard working” has a bizarre secret reading of “untalented.” Someone once told me that “please call me,” a boiler plate sentence, actually means “this person is psychotic but I can only tell you over the phone.” Allegedly, saying that one is good at teaching, has good people skills, or is caring also broadcasts “loser.” At the end of the day, is there anything I can write short of “this person is a genius” that won’t be wildly misread as a secret code for dork? My goal is to write well considered, high information letters for non-geniuses who clearly deserve jobs and admission to graduate school. So, please, tell me the secret code! I’m tenured and I still don’t know it!