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Thread: Letters of recommendation: best sources?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
    Jun 2005
    NYC area

    Letters of recommendation: best sources?

    Hey everyone,

    A planning position has opened in a nearby community and I intend to apply for it. I know this particular community well and think it would be a good fit. The job posting asks for several letters of recommendation. I have a few professional colleagues whom would be more than happy to write letters for me, but these colleagues are not people who I've worked on actual projects with - they are people that I've done work with on various activities with the local APA chapter or who I've met through conferences and have stayed in touch with. The colleagues and board members that I've worked on projects with who work in my particular community cannot serve as references as I don't want to make it known that I'm pursuing another position.

    Do fellow planners and other professionals with whom you've never worked on a work project with (but are still more than willing to vouch for you) make appropriate sources for recommendations?

  2. #2
    Dec 2006
    I don't think it would work against you, but it is always better to have people have worked with you on relevant projects as testament to your abilities.

    Whenever you leave a job (or are laid off) make sure to ask for a general letter of recommendation from your boss or others. Most will usually have a standard form letter and will provide a few signed copies on letterhead. Make a few copies of these and keep them in your file regardless. If the contact info has changed, I just slap on a post-it note with the new information.
    Last edited by nrschmid; 06 May 2010 at 11:45 AM.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
    Feb 2007
    Playing at a movie theater near you
    When applying for my current job, i submitted two letters of recommendation from a former emmployee who was a project manager whom i worked under and was a student TA while i was an undergrad and a client whom I had a 5 year plus working relatiionship. Is there anyone in your organization that used to work for them but has since left and you are still in good terms? That can be pretty valuable.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
    Feb 2002
    Quote Originally posted by MacheteJames View post
    Do fellow planners and other professionals with whom you've never worked on a work project with (but are still more than willing to vouch for you) make appropriate sources for recommendations?
    In my opinion, they would make appropriate sources for recommendations if you have worked with them in some way, even on APA or committee level activities. If I were to call up a reference I would ask how they know you, how long, and in what capacity. If someone were to say that they just met you at a conference and you maintained a professional relationship where you talked frequently about planning issues to bounce ideas back and forth and they were able to make recommendations based on that, that would be ok. If you guys just met at a conference and talk once in a while about nothing in particular, than I would think you were stretching to get references.

    As a side note, if it's a nearby community would they call your current employer upon receipt of your resume anyway?

    Is it appropriate to put in your cover letter that your current employer does not know you are showing interest in another position, but that at some point they would be able to provide you with written (or verbal) letters of recommendation? This wouldn't bother me if I was reviewing resumes to fill a position, but not sure what the general consensus on that would be.

    Is there a previous job that you could list as a reference? If I were reviewing a resume, it wouldn't alarm me that no one from your current area was listed as a reference, assuming that they don't know you are looking. However, if you've had previous, somewhat recent, experience in planning prior to your current job, and no one was listed, that would give me some red flags.

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