November 20, 2020


You are reading this because you have asked me to write a recommendation letter for you, and I have agreed to do it.

Read these lines.

Probably I have already patronized you enough about this, but let’s do it again: Not because someone agrees to write a recommendation letter for you it is something positive. I have read… “interesting” recommendation letters that did not quite recommend the person in question. Make sure that you ask the right people, and ask explicitly for a POSITIVE recommendation letter, and check their reaction. In case of doubt, ask someone else.

In any case, I need these points from you, and a few reminders until I have done it. If you do not send me this information, I will not send the letter.

It is not a threat, it’s just because they are important and, if you do not send it, I will think to myself “I have to ask for this information at some point” but then life will take over and I will forget about your letter. This has happened.

  1. Name of a person to whom I can address the letter, to avoid the usual “to whom it may concern”.
  2. Postal address.
  3. Name of the programme or fellowship.
  4. Deadline
  5. Name of potential collaborators.
  6. How would you complement the research done at the place you are applying to.
  7. Points that you think I should stress about you. Don’t be shy.
  8. Ideally, a few paragraphs as a sketch for me to expand into a full letter.
  9. URLs of the group and / or the people you want to work with.

And, again, do remind me about the letter.