Requesting letters of recommendation can be an extremely uncomfortable time for many, but as my previous post stated, it is very necessary for one to succeed at attaining a residency. I’m going to briefly review some of the common mistakes students make that, if resolved, could make this experience go a lot smoother.
First, don’t just walk up to a program director and ask for a letter, and please do not request a letter through a text message no matter how comfortable you are with that physician. It’s always more professional to schedule a meeting with this person and sit down with them for a bit. They may want to get to know you on a more personal level before agreeing to write this.
Next, you should have your CV prepared and ready to hand off to the letter writer. The more they can include in your letter, the more personal it will seem to the reader. No one wants a generic letter.
Also, it’s always better if they can gear your letter towards a specific specialty. If you’re undecided, have the chairman of medicine direct theirs towards internal medicine, or surgery direct theirs toward surgery. It kind of makes sense since physicians of the same specialty in the same region often know one another. These small tips should make this experience a little easier, and you will come off much more professional in the end.