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I am applying for a postdoctoral position in Chemistry (mainly in US and UK universities). I have zeroed on two persons other than my mentor- One is associate prof. and other is an assistant prof. Both have taken my course classes as well as practicals in M.Sc. Both are widely active in their respective research field which aligns with mine.

1) Is it wise to give names of junior faculties? Do the academia look for the repute of the person as well or just they look into the recommendation letter?

2) Does any personal account matter while considering a recommendation or a generic looking letter does fine? I am confused between a professor who was a member of my advisory committee (familiar with me and my work and quite friendly) and another one who is an asst. prof., but is popular for giving excellent recommendation.

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I think, what really matters is the quality of the reference letter. As you mentioned that both the persons that you have chosen other than your mentor are highly active and are happy with your work, so getting a good recommendation letter from them would be very fine then getting a bad recommendation from a noble laureate. Position really doesn't matter as long as you get a good recommendation. Make sure that the person you have chosen as a recommender gives you really a good one.

Does any personal account matter while considering a recommendation or a generic looking letter does fine?

A well-written letter on an official notepad would be fine, having all the necessary details of your recommender with the phone number and email id.

  • @Hussain From personal account, I meant statements with personal inputs (praise from a personal level, usually coming out of a specific event). Is it considered professional or would it give some negative impact? Or a generic letter w/o any mention of personal inputs? – Lekha Sharma Mar 26 '18 at 16:14
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    @LekhaSharma Anything, praise related to your research which defines your research potential, patience, passion to do science would be fine . – Agaz Hussain Mar 26 '18 at 16:18
  • @LekhaSharma Anyway, you are not writing the recommendation, the person writing it should be knowing. – Agaz Hussain Mar 26 '18 at 16:34

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