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Dear Wendy

Gift/thank you card for graduate references

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  • #833035 Reply

    I am finishing up the last of my graduate applications this month, and I had two professors from school and an old co-worker provide me references for the past 2 applications, and future third one coming up. I was wondering if sending an actual paper card would be a sweet sentiment, or a simple email would suffice? I was also thinking of adding a small gift card for a local coffee shop but I think that would be too much. Any thoughts?

    #833053 Reply

    I understand wanting to give a little gift, but I wouldn’t. This shouldn’t be, like, a reciprocal dynamic or whatever where you in any sense pay for a reco.

    A genuine thanks via email is fine. A handwritten thank-you note is fine too. You can mention how grateful you are for everything you learned from them too, not just the reco.

    In the future, you can pay references forward by giving them for other people you know. Or you could go on these people’s LinkedIn page or whatever and write THEM a reco, if you feel it.

    #833056 Reply

    Agree but I say hand written card. Most of us just receive junk mail now days so i find them so nice. I still even send them for jobs, even though they say email is fine and every job I’ve got the person I sent it to has had it up in their office since I sent it.

    #833061 Reply

    I also say handwritten card. It will stand out from the dozens of emails they get on a daily basis.

    No gift. You don’t gift up and a professor, while not your boss, is doing this as part of their job and their relationship to you is supervisory.

    #833063 Reply

    Handwritten card! Like Leslie said, gifts should flow downward not upward. And then I’d share good acceptance news via email. 🙂

    #833161 Reply

    Sweet, thanks for the feedback. I was definitely hesitant as well about giving a gift card, as I too felt like I was “paying them” for a reference. DOn’t want to imply that.

    I like handwritten cards, so will go with that when I am done 🙂

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