Thursday, November 11, 2010

Recommendation woes

It is difficult, however I'm a little appeased when people tell me it only gets easier. I finished my first draft for a school essay. The main one - why MBA, why here. My reviewer gave me some great feedback that included 20% praise and 80% criticism. The good guy that he was, he actually apologized for the censure in the same mail telling me he felt i needed it to get better. The thing is I dont need yes-men at this point, so all his points were welcome.

I thought I'd sit the next day and work on the essay. Come up with brilliant points, colourful writing style, structure. I sat with my fingers literally in knots, my thought process going in circles and (hello!) I consider I'm generally clear headed. So I let that day pass in complete frustration.

One of my recommenders informed me that she wont be available for the rest of the month because of a home move and other personal activities. I had 1 day to come up with the outlines for jogging her memory. Seriously this was a great event. I sat and faced all the questions... 3 strengths, 3 weaknesses, leadership examples, interpersonal skill examples. For some reason I was able to find so many things I had done under her supervision. So it turned out that I took this deadline opportunity and completed my resume (2nd and final draft) and recommender 1 outline. I have however found that there are more questions asked by other schools to recommenders and need to add a little more to the outline for recommender 1. So suddenly this outline exercise has added to my knowledge of myself. I remember multiple things I have done that hopefully adds dimension or atleast offers choice to my essay examples.

It has also raised doubts on my choice of recommenders, especially for one who I know is extremely enthusiastic about recommending me, but given the kind of examples the other recommenders can show I am doubtful if I should use my enthusiastic recommender or not. What complicates this situation is that its difficult to do away with this recommender so easily because (1) she's a international customer (2) she's enthusiastic and uses words like 'brave' to describe me - all this unsolicited. I am still crippled with this question, so maybe as I get through this day and complete more recommendation outlines, I will have a better answer to this question.

I also have to say I'm loving the essays book. Its concise and to the point. I think I have a half mind to do a review on it when I get the time.

Key takeaways from this post

  • Creating outlines for your recommenders really helps you remember your work and brings new insight to write essays.
  • Recommendations need fantastic examples and not broad bombastic statements like X is brilliant  or X has performed in challenging tasks and under extreme pressure.
  • Writing outlines confirms or raises questions in your head, about the wisdom of your choice of recommenders.
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1 comment:

  1. The Experience of yours you have shared that is really useful..