Gender and language in letters of recommendation November 12, 2010Posted by Ben Webster in jobs.
I don’t have time to write about this properly, since I’m going up to Seattle for the Cascade Topology Seminar in a few hours, and then going to Japan for two weeks, but this seemed too important to not point out: new research suggests that people write recommendation letters for women and for men in different ways, which act to the detriment of women.
Essentially, letters for women tend to play up their “nice” side and those for men their “active” side. Interestingly, the effect didn’t seem to depend on the gender of the recommender, and men who received “nice” recommendation letters rather than “active” ones also had more trouble getting hired, controlling for other factors.
Just a reminder that we all have to be really self-aware about how we write recommendation letters.