Post Academic

Your Recs Dream Team

Posted in Absurdities,First Person by Arnold Pan on September 9, 2010
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So it’s not quite like LeBron’s “The Decision”, but I finally wussed out and played it safe by setting up an Interfolio account for my moldy academic letters of rec.  Hey, maybe my decision was a little LeBron-like in the end, since I decided to take the easy route–holding onto the dossier would be like playing with Wade and Bosh in Miami–instead of sucking it up and doing the harder thing–letting academia go, in my case, staying in Cleveland for King James.  I hemmed and hawed a bit about it on the blog here, but I decided to take my talents, er, recs, to Interfolio, mostly for sentimental reasons because I have an irreplaceable rec from my advisor that I’m not ready to send to the digital dustbin of history just quite yet.

"Beijing Olympics Men's Semifinal Basketball USA huddle" by Richard Giles (Creative Commons license)

To stretch the LeBron analogy a lot further, I started imagining how creating a (non-existent, in my case) dossier might be like putting together the perfect “starting five” on the court.  My latest daydreamy musings on letters of rec is all about composing your very own dossier dream team.  Here’s how you might think about filling out your references roster.

1. The Team Leader, Your Advisor: Nope, we’re not necessarily talking about your LeBron megastar here, but your D-Wade, who’s the inspirational force and guiding light of your job application team.  Your advisor knows you the best and will direct you–and maybe the other recommenders–to the best gameplan.  That means playing the game the right way, which, in this case, might include showing you the ropes, reading between the lines of the job ads, and networking with colleagues.  But it’s the intangibles that make for a great advisor and team captain, like giving you a pep talk when you’re about to throw in the towel, while kicking you in the pants and pushing you when you get too caught up in things and take your eyes off the prize.

See who else rounds out the roster, below the fold…