InUrHead

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Dec 14, 2009
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MD/PhD Student
Sorry if something like this has already been posted, but I've got a question for those of you who have some knowledge when it comes to post-docs.

Almost every post-doc I am applying to asks for 3 letters of recommendation. I have at least 5 people offering to write me letters of recs and I am particularly torn between two. Okay, so obviously I'm going with:
- dissertation chair/clinical supervisor
- clinical practicum supervisor who I then did research with for an extra 3 years

But, then do I go with
a) clinical practicum supervisor (#2) who I worked with for a year
OR
b) current clinical internship supervisor who offered (without me asking) to write a letter but I've only worked with for a few months

thanks!!!!
 

psychmama

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Aug 14, 2008
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But, then do I go with
a) clinical practicum supervisor (#2) who I worked with for a year
OR
b) current clinical internship supervisor who offered (without me asking) to write a letter but I've only worked with for a few months

thanks!!!!
I guess it depends on many factors, but personally I think postdocs will want to see at least one letter of reference from the internship you're currently at. Of course, there may be extenuating circumstances making this a bad idea, but that's my 2 cents.
 

Ollie123

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
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Couple other factors to consider here:
1) Where are you applying for post-docs, and are these clinically-heavy? Research-heavy?

2) Who is better known in their respective areas? For example, if you are an intern at a VA, hope to be a post-doc at a different VA, this internship supervisor is a figure within the VA system....that seems an obvious choice. If this is a research post-doc, your internship is at a CMHC and your supervisor hasn't published a paper in their life, but your practica supervisor was a well known and respected faculty member at your university....that seems the logical choice to me. I've heard from many, many individualsmembers that letters from "known" individuals are given far more weight then letters from someone they have never heard of before, so take that into consideration.

I'm far away from the post-doc game, so take what I say with a grain of salt. That said, also keep in mind there is nothing wrong with picking and choosing (i.e.have one person write the letters for places that are most relevant to their area, and another write letters most relevant for their area).
 

Therapist4Chnge

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Oct 7, 2006
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1. Mentor from your university. (or clinical supervisor if you are applying to clinical-heavy post-docs).

2. Primary internship supervisor or training director if they played a significant role in your training.

3. Wild card....typically your next strongest person.

Many people would argue, myself included, that you'll want the 3rd letter to be from your internship site because they will be able to comment on the most recent (and advanced) version of yourself as a young professional.
 
Jul 29, 2010
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I'm in the same boat and have gotten similar advice: 1 letter from your grad program and 2 from your internship site.