I did a research project, in which I was advised by two researchers. Most of the time, it was a PhD student who defended and transitioned to post-doc during the project. But my official advisor, with whom I talked less often, was this post-doc's own advisor, hence more established and with a "full researcher" position.

I am not sure which researcher I should contact about letters of recommendation for PhD applications. They both gave me good feedback and advice. It was the senior advisor who graded me (close to a perfect grade), but as I said, the post-doc advised me more often.

Note that I am not yet applying to anything, I just want to ask if they would be willing to write recommendations for me in the future.

Would it be better to contact the post-doc, the full researcher, or both in a joint e-mail? Does the job title make a big difference, or is it more a matter of how closely they followed the project?


1 Answer 1


Definitely contact them both. The email doesn't need to be the same to each, but inform each that you are also asking the other.

But try to write it in a way that gets you some feedback about what each would write in an actual recommendation: "I hope you view my contributions in a positive light. I found it a valuable experience...."

The senior person's recommendation would have more weight. Both people writing would also be good if there aren't other, better, choices. But you need someone familiar enough with your contribution so that their recommendation seems genuine and not pro-forma.

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