Letters of recommendation webinar

Earlier this week, we hosted a free webinar and Q&A providing a glimpse into a Dossier Deliver user’s account —focusing on letters of recommendation—for scholars to get the most out of Interfolio’s free Dossier and Dossier Deliver.

We decided to include a demo-heavy portion in the webinar to address some common questions we were getting from users, and to share some of what we’ve learned about the folks using our products. We also touched on the newest features available, specifically how to utilize our quality check process. The webinar also features an exclusive Q&A session, leveraging our attendee’s questions as they participated in the webinar. 

Opening with some of the background and research underlying Dossier, the webinar covers several of the product’s common real-life applications and the best subscription for each of these lifecycle stages. It sheds light on best practices surrounding the three core areas of the Dossier account:

  • Materials
  • Letters
  • Deliveries

Alex Aponte of Interfolio’s Scholar Services team leads the audience through each of these account areas in a product demo of a Dossier Deliver account, diving deeply into many specific questions about confidential letters of recommendation. We know that requesting a letter of recommendation, or providing one, can be a delicate and sometimes stressful process when deadlines are involved, so we offer features and a support team to make those logistics simple.

Check out the full recording here, or read on below for the Q&A portion:

Here are a few of the most common questions we got during the webinar, and a quick recap of what our audience learned:

Q: Is there a way to store a confidential “generic” letter without sending it right away? I plan to apply for many positions, and I don’t want to make my letter writers send all the different letters one by one.

A: Yes! That is a very common use for Dossier, and you can do it for free. You can either request a general letter, or specify which opportunity the letter is for. Just use Dossier’s “General Request Recommendation” feature—look for the “Recommendation Type” section in the request form.

Q: When requesting a letter of recommendation through Interfolio, how should I use the due date feature? Can a letter writer still upload a recommendation letter after the due date has passed?

A: In Dossier, the due date feature is not technically binding—it is just a tool (attached to the request itself) for you to communicate to your letter writer the date by which they should submit their letter. If you set a due date, it will not prevent them from uploading their letter afterward. Also, if you set a due date, we will send your letter writer reminders 7 days and 1 day before the letter is due via email.

Q: What is the quality check feature and how is it helpful?

A: If you have a Dossier Deliver account, you will receive a guaranteed quality check on your letters of recommendation as they enter your account. There are a variety of things we look for and flag as inconsistent with what a user expects within their letter, such as:

  • We check for a signature.
  • We make sure there’s an official letterhead.
  • We ensure the file uploaded is in fact a letter.
  • We verify the letter bears both your name and the letter writer’s name.
  • We establish the letter is legible.

You can choose to send your letter even if it has errors–like a missing signature–so you retain control of your materials and deliveries.

Q: What type of deliveries are available through Dossier Deliver?

A: If you have a Dossier Deliver subscription, you can have your application materials (including letters, CVs, publications, images, and more) delivered to almost any destination via one of three methods:

  • You can provide us with an email address, and we’ll send your materials there, arranged in the order you specified.
  • You can provide us with a mailing address, and we’ll print out your materials and mail them, arranged in the order you specified, either First Class Mail or at an expedited service level.
  • If you’re applying somewhere that requires a confidential letter upload into their own online application system, we can substitute for your letter writers, and directly upload the letters stored in your Dossier. We only do this for letters, not other materials.

Finally, please note that anyone can use the free version of Dossier to apply to positions hosted entirely through Interfolio.

So, what can you do if you have questions about your Dossier account or creating one?

  • Watch the webinar. It’s about an hour long and includes a pretty comprehensive product demo.
  • Check out the FAQ section of our site for quick tips and tricks on how to navigate Dossier and Dossier Deliver.
  • Reach out to us. We’re people that thrive on serving our customers.