While we know and have talked about references and
letters of reference, a recent situation points out some
A member is applying for a position which calls for
three references. This particular institution asks for
references as part of the application process
(along with graduate and undergraduate transcripts).
A note nearly a week later asked that the letters be
sent in. So it is not enough to list people’s names,
but have letters sent in. This can result in some
difficulties– reference not available, reference changed
email or address, reference too busy.
Four references were listed in the public relations
document. One reference sent her letter in within a
week. A second reference request email “bounced
back” no longer at that address. A third reference
request email reply stated that the letter could not
be written until a month later. A fourth email
indicated that they might not be able to write one.
However, if the applicant would write the letter,
she would edit and send the letter in.
So, in the application process:
1. consider having more than the minimum
number of references (five is not too many)
2. prepare each person on your list with a
detailed letter indicating the position you are
applying for why you think you can meet and
exceed the requirements and information like
how long you know the person, projects you
worked on, and successful outcomes.
3. maintain a current listing of emails and
addresses of references.
4. stay on top of reference letter writing; ask
references to let you know when they have sent
their letters in (oh, by the way, in your request
include the address to which you wish/need
the letter to!)
5. develop a back-up plan if references are not
able to provide references in time.
6. keep the references informed of application
Several comments follow relating
- reciprocal needs of people (especially mid-
career and mature chemists)
- what should be included in a reference letter
- just other things to consider.