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留学文书写作指导——推荐信(好的推荐信是怎样的?)
发布时间:2015-03-16   

留学文书写作指导——推荐信(好的推荐信是怎样的?)

每年,有多少青年才俊想出国,因为没有好的推荐信而拿不到好大学的offer?每年,又有多少留学生毕业出去找工作,因为没有好的推荐信而临门一脚射空了?哪样的推荐信写得好,哪样的推荐信没有写好,诸位写推荐信的学生和老师都知道吗?

学生请老师写推荐信,首先要试探老师愿意不愿意写,通过老师的态度来判断他能不能写好推荐信。比如有的老师非常热情地答应,非常愿意帮忙;而有的老师态度 冷淡,话中带有保留,那么学生应该不必勉强这种带有保留的老师。但是有一点必须强调的是:自己的直接导师必须出示推荐信,否则在用人单位眼里看来就 是”red flag”,看到这种情况(没有导师推荐信)就枪毙。

老师只要答应了请求,一般不会写坏话。在Kathy Baker的At the Helm: A Laboratory Navigator一书里,作者从用人者的角度介绍到:”You will seldom receive an overtly bad recommendation .Candidates will usually request recommendations only from people who think they will give a good report. In addition, most people who would write a bad recommendation will inform the candidate.”但是不写坏话就够了吗?Kathy Baker说:”A P.I. may write a less-than-honest recommendation to make sure that the candidate finds a job, i.e., to be sure that the candidate leave the P.I.’s lab…But usually, even the most desperate person will not be totally dishonest and will couch their problems in tell tale phrases hidden among the compliments.”也就是说,有的导师虽然看似在说好话,但其实绵里藏针,把一些话潜伏在句子里面!也就是说,话中有话!让我们阅读书上举出的例 子:
Reading Comprehension: Success in 20 Minutes a Day里面举出一个例子:”Nicole Bryan usually completes her work on time and checks it carefully. She is a competent lab technician and is familiar with several ways to evaluate test results. She has some knowledge of the latest medical research, which has been helpful”.这个虽然没有说一句坏话,但是绝对不是好的推荐信!用人单位看到这样的推荐信保证当场枪毙了。
那么,怎样写才是好的推 荐信呢?Reading Comprehension: Success in 20 Minutes a Day里面举出另外一个例子:”Nicole Bryan always submits her work promptly and checks it judiciously. She is an excellent lab technician and has mastered several ways to evaluate test results. She has an extensive knowledge of the latest medical research, which has been invaluable.”
两段话的字面意思几乎一样,但是为什么差别这么明显?你们体会到了吗?

再 比如At the Helm: A Laboratory Navigator一书里,作者举例:”I am writing in support of XX for his application to graduate school. XX was in my lab for 3 years and was a conscientious worker, always doing what was suggested. Although his work resulted in only one senior author paper, he is an author on two other papers in the lab and was always willing to help the more junior lab members.”这看上去是一封好的推荐信,也许很多想出国的学生得到的推荐信也是这样的,但是事实是这恰恰是一封坏的推荐信!

好的推荐信除了没有“话中有话”以外,还表现在“吹捧”的程度上,网上资料How to Write a Good Recommendation (The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2008)说:”As one associate professor of English noted, ‘The level of praise is so high that any assessment short of ‘brilliant’can look tepid. That means that any consideration of a candidate’s weakness is probably a kiss of death.”也就是说,美国人就是喜欢“吹”的,推荐信里面不写高度赞扬的话,被推荐人就很难得到职位。中国人喜欢用”good”来形容一个人,但是在 美国看推荐信的人那里,good就是一般,outstanding, excellent, brilliant, extraordinary, superb才是好!

推荐人写信的语气语调(tone)也非常重要。坏的推荐信采用一种不瘟不火、有气无力、带有保留、有种不大 认识被推荐人的感觉的语调,这种语调叫做 cool, lukewarm, tepid。有这种语调,保证被推荐人会吃大亏。而写得好的推荐信正面、富有激情(passion),如燃烧的火焰。这正如收到推荐信后,用人单位打电话 给你老板。虽然你的老板没有说你坏话,但是有气无力,没有富有激情地力荐你说你是百年不遇的千里马缺你不行,你就是拿不到工作。

写推荐信要注意:不要只是吹捧而忘了举出实例、给出细节!比如说,推荐人说该生科研能力强,那么请给出个例子并举出具体的数字!网上资料How to Write a Good Recommendation (The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2008)说:“The dean of academic affairs we talked with said that details help to give a rationale for the superlatives–not just that ‘Dr. Smith is the greatest academic of her generation’ but why she is special.”该资料还说:“Details can help those reading the letters get and idea of the quality of the relationship, and how the referee regards the applicant beyond the effusive praise that is often standard.”知道这个道理后,需要写推荐信的人可以主动给推荐人提供自己最新的背景材料,如简历、情况总结、发表文章等,并和推荐人多沟通,商量 你要强调自己什么。

最后,看推荐信的人不但看推荐人写了什么,而且看推荐人没有写什么!在Kathy Baker的At the Helm: A Laboratory Navigator一书里,作者从用人者的角度介绍到:”Look for things not said. Look for the qualities you do require.”比如,很多准备出国的人在自己起草的推荐信里面都漏掉“积极参加系里的学术报告和国内学术会议”这一句话,还有的人缺乏对于人相处、合 作的描述。再比如,出国读研究生主要需要科研能力,但是如果推荐信上写该生花了大量时间在下象棋上或者唱卡拉OK上,或者助人为乐上,却只字不提该生的科 研能力、科研成果和成果的意义,这有用吗?


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