In the context of applications to tenure-track assistant professorship positions in computer science in the US, I see both terms:

  • general confidential letter of recommendation

  • generic confidential letter of recommendation

What is the difference in the meaning of the terms?

  • 2
    They look like synonyms to me.
    – JeffE
    Sep 4, 2017 at 16:05
  • In math, I don't think I've see the term "general letter." (Also confidential is assumed, so I rarely see that explicated as well.)
    – Kimball
    Sep 4, 2017 at 21:11

1 Answer 1


There is no difference. They both refer to a letter that discusses the applicant's achievements and qualifications for a general type of job (postdoc, assistant professor, etc) without being tailored to the expectations of a particular employer.


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