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Jblack91

Letters of Recommendation for Civilians

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Hello everyone, I have been using this forum for research for some time now and this is my first post. May I start by saying it's been wonderful seeing the level of professionalism and the general sense of community that I have seen on this forum and I look forward to being a long time member.

 

Getting to the point, I have been looking for answers on what the proper format would be for a civilian writing a letter of recommendation for a civilian applicant as well as an active duty service member writing a letter for a civilian. It is my understanding that the standardized USAREC form for LOR's does not apply to civilians, would it be wise to mimic this format anyway? I have also found people suggesting a memo format for the letter, is there any merit to this advice? Lastly, who specifically should the letter be made to? I have seen "To whom it may concern" suggested, it seems logical to me but would something more specific be recommended?

 

I appreciate any and all advice in this matter and look forward to being an active member of this forum! Thank you for your time.

 

-Justin

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I recommend civilians using a professional letter type format with contact information listed on it. As for military members, they should use a memo format with their branches letterhead and contact information. It's your packet, make it the way you want it. That is just my .02.

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Hello everyone, I have been using this forum for research for some time now and this is my first post. May I start by saying it's been wonderful seeing the level of professionalism and the general sense of community that I have seen on this forum and I look forward to being a long time member.

 

Getting to the point, I have been looking for answers on what the proper format would be for a civilian writing a letter of recommendation for a civilian applicant as well as an active duty service member writing a letter for a civilian. It is my understanding that the standardized USAREC form for LOR's does not apply to civilians, would it be wise to mimic this format anyway? I have also found people suggesting a memo format for the letter, is there any merit to this advice? Lastly, who specifically should the letter be made to? I have seen "To whom it may concern" suggested, it seems logical to me but would something more specific be recommended?

 

I appreciate any and all advice in this matter and look forward to being an active member of this forum! Thank you for your time.

 

-Justin

PM me with your email address and I will send you my LORs. It's a healthy mix of both.

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PM'ed and thank you, I am planning to use my martial arts instructor, my flight instructor, an active duty Air Force fixed wing pilot (O3 or O4 I believe) and perhaps a CW2 fresh out of Rucker who I believe was an ex ranger. I know his rank won't pull the weight of a CW3 or higher but would you still consider it worth getting? I would think any aviation warrant officer would be better than no aviation warrant officer but I could be mistaken.

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The CWO2 will definitely hold precedence over your martial arts instructor. To be honest, if you can get anyone more prominent, i.e. Doctor, lawyer go with that. Another thing that's been suggested here, call a local army base with a flight unit and see if you can schedule an interview with one of them to get a LOR.

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I was wondering how one would go about doing that, just get a number for the base, call it up and start asking how to get in touch with senior warrant officers? I live in Florida, is there such a base in my state that anyone knows of? I will drive to Ft. Rucker if I have to but if I could find something closer it would be ideal.

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Take a look at Lindsey's letters. I would highly recommend using examples from members who were successfully selected as your base reference. You want letters from folks who can speak articulately on your leadership, physical, and aeronautical potential. Your Aviator LOR must be from a CW3 or above. remember the board has approximately 1:45 seconds to 2 minutes to review your entire packet. We're not going to read through 5 letters, we're going to pick one or two, read the first and last paragraph.

 

Mike-

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Understood, thank you very much for the advice! From what I can find, the nearest army base with an aviation unit seems to be Ft. Stewart in Georgia, otherwise Ft. Rucker looks like it's not even two hours more to just drive there and surely SOMEONE there would be willing to interview me right? Is there a recommended way of approaching something like that? Who do I call?

 

Thank you for the help so far everyone, I am really eager to do whatever it takes to get this done, I am dead set on reaching this goal and the way I see it I have from whenever I can get my packet in until i turn 33 to get accepted! I am just having a hard time with the specifics on HOW in this particular area.

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They really only look at your packet for 2 minutes?

Yup. Part of the reason to for quality over quantity with LORs.

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Kind of worries me because I have lots of lors and a bunch of photocopied logbook papers. I don't think you could get through much of it in 2 minutes.

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Kind of worries me because I have lots of lors and a bunch of photocopied logbook papers. I don't think you could get through much of it in 2 minutes.

I think the logbook pages is to verify you have the hours you claim you have on your resume. I'm not sure the USAREC board actually sees it (more of a quality control thing perhaps). Maybe stearmann4 can verify; I could easily be wrongness. Nevertheless you shouldn't be giving them a whole bunch of photocopied pages - just do the last page of your logbook.

 

Regarding the LORs, cut it down if you can. Select maybe your best 3 or 4 letters. Do you have one or two that are simply outstanding? If so, you don't want to clutter that with 5 other LORs that are just "good," because then you risk the board members skimming through a single "good" LOR rather than that outstanding CW5 letter that he just didn't see.

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I think the recruiting battalion makes it look all neat and has a page with all the test scores/apft/flight time. I didn't put my resume in my packet.

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I think the recruiting battalion makes it look all neat and has a page with all the test scores/apft/flight time. I didn't put my resume in my packet.

Why not?

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I think the recruiting battalion makes it look all neat and has a page with all the test scores/apft/flight time. I didn't put my resume in my packet.

Isn't it required?

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Isn't it required?

Technically it's optional but I am curious as to why one wouldn't include one in their packet.

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About the resume, is it just supposed to be a professional civilian type resume? My resume is not particularly impressive but I would think any resume shows you are willing to go a little extra with your packet.

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About the resume, is it just supposed to be a professional civilian type resume? My resume is not particularly impressive but I would think any resume shows you are willing to go a little extra with your packet.

Yup, just a professional civilian resume. One difference though is I'd highly suggest bolding certain key phrases and job positions that highlight leadership experience or things that relate to being a technical and tactical expert. For example, I was a flight instructor but also a branch manager at my flight school so I bolded "Manager." Why? They only have 2 minutes max to look at your WHOLE packet so I can't imagine them spending more than 30 seconds on the resume - you need to make stuff stand out. I am more than happy to forward my resume to those looking for examples or guidance. This advice was given to me by a 160th CW4 who has sat on the boards so I'm not just spewing BS.

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I apologize for this, but I'm going to do a little bit of double-posting (or cross-posting?) between here and my WOFT Guide thread. Jblack91 and I have been PMing about how to get in contact with senior WOs for LORs, and it's really alerted me to how often that question comes up here, especially lately. So I'm going to copy and paste part of my reply to him, in case in benefits others (and hopefully reduces the number of similar new threads that pop up--I know, I know, I'm dreaming). Jblack91 don't take it personally buddy! Ardo, I took some of this from an email we had going too, if it looks familiar! ;) This happens all the time and there's never any harm in asking questions.

 

I've gotten a lot of PMs about how I got my LoRs, particularly the two CW4/CW5 LORs I have. The "how" I got those letters is actually kind of a funny story. You know Linked-In, that weird site where you sign up but you don't know what to do with it and some day when you're bored you fill out your profile and throw your resume on there, and then proceed to ignore it for several weeks and come back to find friend requests and random messages? Well, that's what happened, except one of those random messages was an Army National Guard CW4 UH-60 Standardization Instructor Pilot asking if I needed any help with my packet. "Well Sir, now that you ask - I could really use a Senior WO LOR to strengthen it, if you wouldn't mind!" So I sent him my resume and we communicated back and forth between a few emails, and wa-la I got myself a letter.

Now inspired, I decided to look through the connections-of-connections on Linked-In and I came across a 160th SOAR CW5 (which is actually only about 30 minutes from my house). What a ridiculously badass resume he had on there. Thoroughly intimidated, I hmm'd and haw'd for a few days about sending him a message. Then I said to myself "what's the worst that could happen? He doesn't reply or he says no, and I'm right back where I started. What's the best that could happen? I meet with him and he hopefully writes me a LOR." Well, it worked out better than I could have imagined. He was immediately gracious and helpful, and we quickly set up a date and time where I could come to his office and do an interview. He had me write a 1 page biography to send to him along with my resume to he could get to know me a little bit before I came in for the actual sit-down interview. The day of the interview comes and I'm dressed up in a suit, the whole deal, but it's actually quite casual. The second I sat down he said "reading over your stuff I'm gonna write you a letter, so just relax and let's chat." Wow. So we chatted about the Army, Aviation, flying, he asked a few interview-ish questions like "why Warrant Officer" and he liked my answer to that question so much he was like "you've done your research, you're going to be an outstanding WO," etc. Needless to say I was trying to contain my excitement. He was seriously just an amazingly cool, relaxed guy. And he wrote me an OUTSTANDING letter. Doesn't hurt that his writing skills were extremely impressive as well.

 

I definitely would recommend both Linked In and this website. Linked In is all *about* networking - just be professional and polite and definitely make your tone come across as "I would be honored to have a LoR from you but please don't feel obligated" or something like that. In other words don't come across as pushy (obvious, but you'd be surprised at some people). With this website, there are some pretty powerful people who lurk on here, and some even post. I recommend going back and reading old threads that seem to have a lot of "juice" in them - i.e. a lot of Warrant Officers posting because someone asked details about flight school, getting to a unit, etc. As you continue to read you'll start to "get to know" the person behind the username - you can infer a lot (is he a brand new guy straight out of flight school? does he post like he's "been there done that?") and if he seems like a squared away guy with a lot of good advice, send that person a PM. Even if he himself isn't a CW4 or CW5, he will know some and may pass along your info if he desires. It may seem like a long shot in the dark, but so was my nervous email to that 160th CW5. Fortune favors the brave!

 

If you're relaxed and clearly enthusiastic, *AND* informed about the career (both good and bad), then you will get a good LOR. If you're *really* informed about this career, you will get a really really good LOR.

 

People think that I know a whole lot about this WOFT stuff - but the truth is, when I first showed up to this website in 2009, I knew absolutely no one in the Army. Nobody. All I knew is that I eventually wanted to fly Army helicopters. I owe literally everything to these forums. My Army "network" now extends to literally dozens of people I converse with on facebook chat and on the phone and via text messages and emails, and ranges from fellow applicants to that 160th CW5 I still keep in touch with. I've made some good friends here. But what most people don't realize is that while the networking is great and invaluable, it's only possible if you take the time (a lot of time) to really read through these threads. Not just the most recent ones. It makes you more informed about things you didn't even know you're uninformed about (does that make sense?). It answers unanswered questions. I did well in my 160th CW5 and Battalion Board interviews simply because I had read so much over the years on this forum about the career, and talked to current Army Aviators that I'd met through this forum about the career, that I didn't even have to think or prepare my answers. They came naturally. I just can't stress this enough.

 

I hope I don't come off as if I'm lecturing anyone--that's not my intent. But hopefully it helps some of you who are just as in-the-dark as I was four years ago.

 

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Hey if my annoying newbie questions can be used to help others then feel free! :lol: Thank you so much for helping out, I will look at setting up a linked in account, I may already have one but I can't remember if I set one up for one of my classes or not.

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