Did you ever think that cover letters and
interviewing were similar in some ways to
An interesting piece on Morning Edition repeated
what I have heard in the past about the use of
certain words in conversations. The piece pointed
out that when each of a pair in a conversation
matches each others rate of use of articles,
pronouns, and functional words, they would
result more in a date.
In studying “power dynamics” in a pair James
Pennebaker has analyzed the language use and
correlated it to the relative social status. The person
who holds a position of relatively higher status speaks
“I” less frequently.
Pennebaker has shown similar things in writing
samples, too. He also believes that a person cannot
change him or herself by changing their language.
He does believe individuals change their language by
When you work as a “knowledge worker“, like many
scientists and engineers, you do not receive requests
to be a reference for others. When you move
into “management” ranks, whether of a department,
group or in a staff position, requests become more
common and for people who work for you, inside and
outside your organization.
It should be this way. This is true in the pre-LinkedIn
days, at least. [Linkedin offers many opportunities to
seek and provide “recommendations”.]
When you move into academe, it is common to receive
requests for recommendations (filling out forms and
free form) and job application references fairly frequently.
Is it a good practice for an academic to post
recommendations for students in LinkedIn?
I have my own answer. While it is a nice compliment to be
asked to write supporting letters, it is hard work to compose
strong letters. Experience and writing skills stand the
test of time. Some helpful rules of thumb are:
LIST OF REFERENCES
- Avoid “references available on request” on your CV
(should be a listing of references in CVs) or in your resume.
COROLLARY: include a List of References page in your
- if there is only casual, infrequent or not recent contact
with a possible reference, don’t ask
PREPARATION IS KEY
- help the reference compose a strong letter by offering
your recent resume, your achievements, attributes,
interpersonal skills and motivations
IS LINKEDIN SAME AS REFERENCE?
- is the LinkedIn recommendation the same as a
reference conversation or letter?
Resume reviewers will seek references outside your
list of names and in a wide array of places, especially
from their own network of contacts.
It seems that most resume reviewers and recruiters will
have their own tactics to screen promising candidates with
all the appropriate Internet tools.