An Interfolio for References Downside

I've been using Interfolio to manage references during the job search. I've not worried particularly about whether committees will react badly to it; as far as I'm concerned they can suck up that they don't get letters tailored to them specifically from every person involved in the process since they ask for so much information at the start of the process in my field.

The decision to use it was based around the fact that getting reference letters from afar, like managing a dissertation from far off, is like herding cats. It was easier to me to set one deadline with everyone, to ask each reference to highlight particular things, and to have some bit of a backup. Part of why it's necessary is that I've taught at two very different types of schools in addition to the grad school related issues. So I want references that will highlight that I thrived in my One Year Visiting at a Research I as well as references that can talk about how I've been good for the SLAC that I'm currently at. I want to make sure someone is talking about how useful my research is and how good my teaching is. I need someone to talk about both undergraduate work and my experiences teaching graduate students.

But even with Interfolio, it's still cats being herded. Part of my backup was to have an extra reference letter available. One from my dissertation adviser (covering research), one from my current department chair, one from my current dean, and one from my division chair at the one year where, among other things, I gained experience with graduate students.

Naturally, only three of the four letters came in on time for the 15 applications I sent out (please note, more than a month and a half was given before the first deadline for the reference letters). The fourth one came in today, and I'm left with the question of whether that fourth letter is worth sending out, even to a limited number of places, at the $5 per mailing cost.


5 Responses to “An Interfolio for References Downside”
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Ewan said...

Well: yes. Not _only_ do you get the additional coverage, but the very act of sending an extra letter is a reinforcement stimulus for your name.

Even better of course if you can accompany with a note which mentions 'in the meantime, these five papers have been accepted, I have won these two awards, and four of my recent grants were funded' (!)...

November 9, 2007 at 2:07 PM
adjunct whore said...

my two cents: one of 5 letter came in late, but it was from the third reader (inside) on my diss committee. so i struggled with whether to take her name off of my cv.

instead, i sent the last letter separately. it sucks. but the job market is such that every wee thing counts.

November 9, 2007 at 4:50 PM
Professor Zero said...

$5 per mailing? I did not realize this. Shocking.

November 10, 2007 at 2:20 AM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

Actually, $5 per mailing is the cheapest, and it only covers 20 pages. If you need something overnighted or want confirmation or are trying to send an entire packet, it gets prohibitively expensive.

Using for reference management seems alright - I'll be able to store the letters for awhile, since my alma mater doesn't. Beyond that, I'm using it as a sort of data storage point so that I've got backups someplace just in case.

November 10, 2007 at 12:08 PM