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Helpful Hints for Letters of Nomination

What makes a successful nomination?

  • One that speaks to how the individual/team contributes to the MIT community, with an accurate, persuasive and well-documented justification that includes examples of how the nominee meets the above criteria.
  • Ideally, it includes information about the nominee from several sources. One key nominator might submit a single letter that includes quotations, testimonials, and/or specific examples collected from several other people. (Such letters may exceed the typical single page length.) Or, several letters of support may be submitted in support of one nominee.

Supporting information might include some of the following;

Exhibits professionalism: Describe the candidate's knowledge in his or her area of expertise. Describe the quality of the candidate's work. Describe the candidate's professional demeanor, e.g., brings dignity, compassion, or unselfishness to the job. Show how the candidate demonstrates personal integrity. If someone has advanced through several positions, describe how the individual's growth has benefited the department.

Demonstrates Initiative: Describe the breadth of contributions of the candidate.  Describe how the candidate is proactive and goes beyond the job description to make sure that things run properly. If the candidate has experienced a significant and unexpected change in workload, describe how the candidate has effectively contributed to the department in this period of transition.

Leads: If the person directs activities, describe them, e.g., supervises XX people or administers research volume of $X and X number of contracts. Describe how the candidate manages an important project, e.g., day-to-day coordination, budget, and schedule considerations. If the candidate represents the unit at Institute meetings or peer group meetings, describe how they represent the unit and/or MIT.

Serves the greater good: Describe the candidate's commitment to the job and the department.  If the candidate is a long standing employee, in addition to the number of years the candidate has worked for the department and/or the Institute, describe the individual's significant contributions to the department. Explain how the candidate supports what MIT is about: teaching and research.

Influences others: Describe the candidate's attitude toward others, e.g., treats students, staff, and faculty with respect and courtesy. Describe how the candidate has provided advice and guidance, e.g., graduate student administrators who care about their students above and beyond the job. If the candidate is an essential resource for information, describe how they communicate and educate the department, Institute, other institutions, etc.

Other Tips and Suggestions for Strong Nominations:

You may wish to use bullet points in addition to written paragraphs, if that simplifies the task.

Avoid jargon that may be unfamiliar to members of the selection committee.

Include measurable results, where possible (such as clients receiving goods or services in a more timely and/or professional manner, better information or staff morale, etc.).

Include more than one example of how the individual or team went above and beyond the daily responsibilities of the job.

Keep trying. If you submitted an Infinite Mile Award nomination last year or earlier that was not selected, consider revising it by citing most the recent, specific examples of contributions made over this year and resubmit.

Give some background information that provides an understanding of why the individual or team is being nominated (such as the nominee's position and general job responsibilities, what is noteworthy about the individual or team, and what is significant about their contribution/achievement).

Describe some specific steps that were taken (such as innovations, solutions, and/or collaborative efforts), any leadership and/or teamwork, and how these steps were beyond the normal requirements of the nominee's job).

Explain the results of the achievement (such as what impact the contribution/achievement has on a department and/or the Institute, and how the community benefits).

Nomination letters should be one-two pages, with no more than five letters of support per nomination.