Letters of Recommendation

Why, yes! I would be more than happy to work with you on a letter of recommendation, since you were one of the best students I ever had. However, since you know what you would like the potential employer or school or scholarship committee to know about you far better than I ever could, it only makes sense that you write it, not me. Were you a Boy Scout? A Girl Scout? An Eagle Scout? Did you earn 90% of your college expenses digging ditches and working two jobs? Did you play music at your church? Were you involved in other extracurriculars that I don't know about? Wow! I didn't know that, and would never have thought to mention it.

So here is what I need from you: email me a perfect letter of recommendation that you wish I would write for you, listing every nifty reason why the company should hire you, why the school should accept you, why you should get the scholarship, whatever.

You are welcome to assume that you really were the best student I ever had, because even if you weren't, you must be pretty danged good to expect a scholarship. I will remove the obvious lies, and those things that are possibly true but which I don't really believe, and those things which I believe but don't think the employer will believe, then correct the spelling and grammar (maybe – and then again perhaps I will just leave the “I thouht he was really good studnt” in there. Then they will assume that I am a careless oaf, and so you were probably trained to be one too. No skin off my nose – I already have a job. jk )

Email it to me at garza@cyoband.org. I will then reflect on how I agree that you really were a great student, put the modified version on letterhead and mail it out. If you send me a two sentence blurb, then that's what they'll get – a two sentence summary of your life. If you send me a list of ten items, then I'll just send them that list. If you take great care and construct a professionally written, well thought out letter, then that's what they get. I'll even pay for the stamp. 🙂

I often get letters saying “I can't say all those wonderful things about myself. That would be too embarrassing.” Well, life is tough buddy. If you don't think you're wonderful, then don't expect me to make up stuff to say about you. Perhaps you can get your mother to write it for you.

Now if you think that this is just too much trouble, and that I am a lazy bum because I won't do all the work for you – well you're right. I am a lazy bum. I haven't worked in years, and certainly don't intend to start now. Go get some other poor sucker to recommend you. Or if you really just cannot bring yourself to do that much work, I will be happy to send them my standard letter of recommendation (se below). One size fits all.

Note that I do not mind “checking the boxes.” I.E. if the form you need only asks me to rate my opinion of your abilities on a scale of 1 to 10, I am happy to do that without assistance. Just send me the form. It's only requests to write finely crafted, life-altering letters with which I must have help. Even in this case it will be to your advantage to carefully read each question and remind me what you have done to deserve high marks in that area.

I wish you luck in winning this new job, scholarship, acceptance to school, or whatever. I will tell you now that you were a great student. If you weren't among the top students on the face of the earth you would never have been a part of the CYO Band. Remember, this band is only made up of the best of the best. I am proud of you and want you to be a success in life. mlg

Dear Sir or Madam:

Suzy Q is applying for a scholarship to your school and has asked me to write her a letter of recommendation. I know her as a member of the CYO Band in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She was a student for six years and did o.k. I guess, since she seems to have been accepted to your university.

I never really knew much about Suzy. I don't think she was an ax murderer or anything like that, but couldn't really say one way or the other. There actually was an ax murderer around here recently, but he/she must have gone since bodies have stopped showing up. Suzy never dressed inappropriately, or had green hair, as did some of the idiots in my band so you might say she works hard, but then maybe not. I never caught her doing inappropriate things on field trips, and I never missed her in rehearsals, but then I don't usually take roll, either. She seemed to get along well with the other students, or at least I don't remember any fights breaking out in her vicinity. She might have been a Girl Scout, or something, and may have had other things like jobs or friends but I don't really know. Anyway, that's about all I can tell you, and I really didn't even know that much. It took me a danged hour just to scrape up the little bit you see here.


Matthew L. Garza
Director of Bands
Catholic Youth Organization

Leave a Reply