The best time to send recommendation letters to employers

Longtime followers of STAA may have heard the story of how I applied for the University of Kentucky play-by-play job. I was 24 and working in Kansas as the voice of McPherson High School. The Bullpups had won the state basketball title in each of my first two years at the mike.

With those credentials, UK wouldn’t be able to tell me no.

I wanted to put my best foot forward so I asked a couple of folks to write letters of recommendation. Kindly, they did. Then I had to decide when to send them.

Should recommendation letters be included with the application or sent later as a follow-up?

Include them with your application. Otherwise, they will never be read if you miss the first cut.

It’s like when I played freshman basketball in high school. I got into very few games so when I did, I had to shoot. There might not be another opportunity.

If you do include a letter, include just one. Two letters can be too much. Three looks like you’re trying to compensate for otherwise weak credentials.

Hang onto a second letter. If you get an interview, send letter two as a follow-up.

Be sure your letters are from people who will be relevant to the job for which you are applying. For my Kentucky application, a letter from the voice of another DI program was relevant. A letter from the mayor of McPherson was not.

By the way, you probably know how my Kentucky application turned out. I didn’t get the gig.

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