In some selection processes, candidates are asked to provide reference letters. These are the only documents which give third party opinions of the candidate, highlighting their competences, knowledge and experience. Who should write your reference letter? In this article we will present some criteria you should consider when choosing your referees!
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When starting to acquire reference letters, one of the first questions which comes into a candidate’s head is: who should I request the recommendation letters from? In order to assist them in this process, five criteria are recommended, which may help the candidate make the correct decision.
The first criterion to be considered when selecting a referee is the person’s capacity to provide relevant information about the candidate. You should select referees who know you well, have knowledge of your work and, therefore, are able to share your knowledge, competences and experience in detail.
The second criterion for selecting a referee is looking for a diversity of perspectives, allowing the assessor to gain a broad overview of your professional and academic experience. You should select people who can provide different, but complementary, points of view (for example, work, university and voluntary work, etc.).
The third important criterion is the selection of a referee you are sure has positive information about you. If possible, do not risk requesting a reference letter from a supervisor or boss with whom you have had disagreements in the past or you know does not hold a high opinion of you. In other words, only ask for reference letters from people with whom you have a relationship of trust.
The fourth criterion is your referee’s availability. It is important that you are sure that the person selected as your referee will have the time to write the letter and will not miss the established program deadline.
The last criterion is, if possible, look for someone who is recognized in a specific area or field. It is important to note that the recommendation letter draws on the logical principle of an argument from authority, that is to say that when an individual who is a specialist in a specific area makes statements about something or someone, it is presumed that they are true.
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