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JetMaybe2015
October 29th, 2014, 09:23
I'm applying for JET a second time and I have letters from these people.

Previous board of education- None of the people that were there when I was a JET are there anymore. It is a general letter stating that I was a good ALT, was involved in the community, and highlighted extracurriculars.

Previous co-teacher- A somewhat close friend that I worked with for 3 years with while on JET. He wrote the letter in Japanese. He stated that I was very involved with the teachers at the school. He mentions me going to enkais with everyone, the students loving me, and how much I was missed when I left JET.

Senior manager at current job- it is short and to the point. The written word isn't his gift (nor mine). Still makes me look pretty good though.

Nursing program director- Just finished second degree as a nurse. Haven't gotten this letter yet, but I'm assuming it will be a good one. She loved me.




The only thing I see bad about the previous BOE letter is that the person writing it doesn't know me. The only thing I see being bad about the previous co-teacher is that he is talking about things from 10 years ago.

Thoughts?

word
October 29th, 2014, 10:11
Hmm. I vote previous co-teacher and manager. Maybe the nursing director if the letter is significantly better.

BeckyJones
October 29th, 2014, 11:47
previous jet BOE and coworker. Japanese opinion of ALT even if it is vague, is more important than current gaijin opinion

miamicoordinator
October 29th, 2014, 11:49
I'm applying for JET a second time and I have letters from these people.

Previous board of education- None of the people that were there when I was a JET are there anymore. It is a general letter stating that I was a good ALT, was involved in the community, and highlighted extracurriculars.

Previous co-teacher- A somewhat close friend that I worked with for 3 years with while on JET. He wrote the letter in Japanese. He stated that I was very involved with the teachers at the school. He mentions me going to enkais with everyone, the students loving me, and how much I was missed when I left JET.

Senior manager at current job- it is short and to the point. The written word isn't his gift (nor mine). Still makes me look pretty good though.

Nursing program director- Just finished second degree as a nurse. Haven't gotten this letter yet, but I'm assuming it will be a good one. She loved me.




The only thing I see bad about the previous BOE letter is that the person writing it doesn't know me. The only thing I see being bad about the previous co-teacher is that he is talking about things from 10 years ago.

Thoughts?

Just a reminder, the letters of recommendation are supposed to be sealed and confidential in an unopened envelope. You are not supposed to know what is written on them. Your descriptions make it seem like you have read them already.

JetMaybe2015
October 29th, 2014, 12:02
I absolutely want to read what my references said about me. All of them sent me a loose copy of the letters for me to read. I don't think this is strange at all.

sharpinthefang
October 29th, 2014, 13:16
I don't think you are ever supposed to know what is said in your references, otherwise you could threaten a person to write a good one for you which defeats the point.
You can't write a bad reference, you have to refuse to give one.

word
October 29th, 2014, 13:39
I don't think you are ever supposed to know what is said in your references, otherwise you could threaten a person to write a good one for you which defeats the point.Why wouldn't the person just refuse? Threaten? That sounds crazy.



You can't write a bad reference, you have to refuse to give one.?

In this case, because you aren't supposed to see the reference, a person absolutely could write a bad reference if they wanted to. It's not as if there were a law forbidding it, either--if a person doesn't like you, they most certainly could write a negative letter, or sabotage you in some way ("His work is acceptable, although he regularly arrived fifteen minutes late").

uthinkimlost?
October 29th, 2014, 13:41
("His work is acceptable, although he regularly arrived fifteen minutes late").

word

Ini
October 29th, 2014, 13:55
I was in the room when my references were written and checked them before they went in their envelopes.....

word
October 29th, 2014, 16:05
I absolutely want to read what my references said about me. All of them sent me a loose copy of the letters for me to read. I don't think this is strange at all.


I was in the room when my references were written and checked them before they went in their envelopes.....

I don't blame you, JetMay; I was also very curious to know what my references were going to say about me. One of them was in Japanese and I couldn't understand it, but the other was from a dear friend and mentor who actually asked me for advice about how he should write it in order to maximize my chances. It was a good thing I saw it, too; he forgot to include the dates required, despite two requests, and happily added that information once I pointed it out.

That said... miami is right to clarify the rules in this regard--the letters are supposed to be sealed and signed for security (although my references found this amusing).

This is a good time to warn any applicants reading this: we take anonymity pretty seriously around here, because we want for people to be able to ask and answer questions as honestly as possible. However, we can't protect you from yourself, so be sure to choose usernames and post information with caution. If it's possible that you've violated some apparently insignificant technicality of the JET application process, it would probably be very good if you didn't reveal enough information here for anyone to identify you by name. Just to be safe!

Gizmotech
October 29th, 2014, 16:10
Just a reminder, the letters of recommendation are supposed to be sealed and confidential in an unopened envelope. You are not supposed to know what is written on them. Your descriptions make it seem like you have read them already.


I absolutely want to read what my references said about me. All of them sent me a loose copy of the letters for me to read. I don't think this is strange at all.

It might sound strange to you, but in a lot of businesses the purpose of the reference letter is actually to provide candid feedback to the new employer without the employees knowledge of said content. Yes, it could be bad, but we're not all perfect, and it's important to remember who your source is for your reference. Not everyone likes who they pretend to like.


I was in the room when my references were written and checked them before they went in their envelopes.....

This is where you know you have good references as they trust you enough to vet what they're writing.

Check the rules though before submitting. If you just finished a nursing degree, isn't one of your letters of reference supposed to be from the university? If that isn't required (and I'm pretty sure it is), I'd go with BoE and manager. (Education and non-education)

word
October 29th, 2014, 17:13
Check the rules though before submitting. If you just finished a nursing degree, isn't one of your letters of reference supposed to be from the university? If that isn't required (and I'm pretty sure it is), I'd go with BoE and manager. (Education and non-education)Good point! I'd quite forgotten.

Ini
October 29th, 2014, 17:29
I pretty much ignored the rules and submitted what I wanted but that was back in the old days before all you cool kids with your smart phones and broadband internet.

Jiggit
October 29th, 2014, 18:46
I pretty much ignored the rules and submitted what I wanted but that was back in the old days before all you cool kids with your smart phones and broadband internet.

Yeah but we applied from the UK. Everyone knows the Americans are super uptight.

Gizmotech
October 29th, 2014, 19:03
The Americans also have like five times the number of applicants to process. You can't really blame em.

therealwindycity
October 29th, 2014, 20:06
The reference letters are also supposed to include a specific form, so you can't use a rec letter that you already have on file - you'll have to contact the reference and have them fill out the form to include in the signed, sealed envelope.

A reference from your previous BOE would probably be good, though, if you can get someone to issue you one in time. Or do you mean that you contacted four references to have them write letters for you specifically for this application?

Shincantsen
October 29th, 2014, 22:54
previous jet BOE and coworker. Japanese opinion of ALT even if it is vague, is more important than current gaijin opinion

Keep in mind that the applications are checked by people living in the country you're applying from, not Japanese CLAIR employees.

JET ProgramCoordinator SF
October 30th, 2014, 01:26
I absolutely want to read what my references said about me. All of them sent me a loose copy of the letters for me to read. I don't think this is strange at all.

Miami Coordinator is correct. In the professional world Letters of Recommendation are not supposed to be read by the person they're being written for. If your future employer knows that you've read the LoR, then they will have reason to believe that the LoR is not completely frank about your character and the integrity of the letter has likely been compromised by your influence. Unfortunately, a lot of professionals don't follow this unspoken rule, and will often show or even ask the opinion of the person they are writing the letter for. I know some people who write their own LoRs and then have their "recommender" just sign off on it. That really defeats the purpose of a LoR. We can't stop you from doing that, but just know in the future that it's not the expectation set by hiring managers.

Another point to note is that most professional institutions will not accept a LoR written by a co-worker. It must be written by someone above you - your manager, supervisor, boss, etc. Even though your co-worker may know you and your work ethic better than your supervisor, it is more likely that your co-worker will be your friend, and will not be impartial in the letter. For this I would recommend against your co-worker's letter. As for the others, all I can say is that every aspect of the letter matters - how well the person writing it knew you and what they have to say about you. It sounds like most of your letters unfortunately only have one or the other. Choose the two that you think will best speak to your strengths as they relate to the program.


Keep in mind that the applications are checked by people living in the country you're applying from, not Japanese CLAIR employees.

You can turn in a letter of rec in Japanese. We even provide the form for it. We have Japanese people and people who can read Japanese working at the Japanese Embassy, ya know ;)