I just applied for a few jobs and am concerned about a late letter. I submitted all my materials on time and 2 of my 3 letter writers turned their letter in on time…one of those "on time" letters is from my advisor. The late letter is from my post-doctoral supervisor…though I am pretty confident he will turn in the letter, just really late. Will the committee still review my file without the last letter? I have heard that in some cases committees have asked for letters that have not arrived when they are interested in the candidate…but, I don't want to bank on that. Thoughts?
Every committee is different but most will start reviewing apps without looking at the letters at all. They'll focus on the CV to make initial decisions. Letters will come into play later in most cases. And many places expect letters will come later. So I wouldn't worry too much, just keep on your supervisor to get the letter out as soon as he can.
All the letters are positive and glowing, so they don't really matter that much, except for the rare strong candidate who has an inexplicably weak letter.
Thanks to the both of you…it is reassuring to know that I won't be automatically "dinged" simply for not having one letter in on time.
As searchcommitteemember noted since "all the letters are positive and glowing" does it then boil down to who wrote the letters? For instance, would it make a difference to have a glowing letter from famous professor X rather than a glowing letter from less than famous professor X. I would think so, but interested to get a committee members take.
At first, the following matter most (to me at least):
1) How well you fit the job in terms of research and teaching interests (you would be surprised how many people don't address the job ad… like whether or not they could teach personality if it is mentioned in the ad, or what quantitative training if strong quant skills are emphasized in the ad. Tailor your cover letter to each school, it makes a difference!).
2) How many 1st author publications you have AND/OR where they are published (i.e., two first author JPSP or Psych Bull papers carry a lot of weight.. some candidates have a high quality strategy - which is fine - and others have a massive publication blast strategy to publishing to journals of all tiers - which is fine)
3) How many total publications you have and where they are published
4) My own evaluation of how interesting/important/well executed the studies are (regardless of where they are published)
Then after that, things like:
4) Grants, teaching ratings, extent of teaching experience (we're an R2ish school so that matters alot)
5) Research and teaching statement (most are pretty good, so these separate candidates less than you would think)
Then after that, things like:
6) Where they got their degree, letters of rec, if anyone has a personal impression of them from conferences, oversight of student projects. I look up the citation count for finalists, but don't put too much weight on it unless it is unusually high.
7) Maybe way down here… who writes the letters matters a little. Maybe.
i just realized that i added a school to my list and forgot to inform my letter writers (it was one where you email them your PDFs directly — not an upload to website kind of deal). my letter writers gave me copies of their letters, so I just forwarded them (as to not be continually bugging my letter writers).
I'm hoping the general opinion is that this is acceptable… thoughts?
also, how late is too late after the candidate's deadline for submission of reference letters? e.g., is two weeks too late?
haha, i think i'm just asking for reassurance. but i guess I'll just have to get over it if they're too late.