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Tips for Strong Letters of Endorsement for Practitioners

It is important to recognize that SIOP Fellowship is an honor that is bestowed on individuals for outstanding practice, service, teaching, and/or research in the field of I/O psychology. The individual’s contributions will have had meaningful and sustained impact on our discipline. Many individuals will have successful careers in psychology or have made significant contributions to their employers. The contributions of SIOP Fellows go beyond impacting a given company, but rather influence the entire field of I/O psychology.

To be nominated, the individual must be a current SIOP member in good standing for a minimum of two years. He or she also must possess a doctorate from an accredited institution for at least 10 years prior to nomination.

As you craft the letter of endorsement for your nominee, understand that the SIOP Fellowship Committee will be reading endorsement letters for many nominees who have had impressive careers. It is important that you communicate clearly and concretely the contributions of your nominee and present strong evidence that the nominee played a key role in the accomplishments of those contributions. Your opinions are not nearly as powerful as direct evidence of stellar performance.

Structure of Your Endorsement Letter

  • The opening paragraph should strongly and clearly endorse the nominee. Provide a few summary statements of the major contributions of your candidate.
  • Specify your relationship with the candidate. That is, how do you know the candidate (e.g., your manager, your direct report, a colleague, someone you have worked with on various projects)?
  • Include 4-6 paragraphs detailing the specific contributions the nominee has made to the field of I/O psychology.
    • Provide clear examples of those contributions and how they have impacted the field and their professional colleagues.
    • Again, it is vital to focus on how the nominee contributed to the field of I/O psychology, not only to the success of their organization. What specific interventions, programs, assessments, tests, activities, intellectual property, etc. did the nominee make to the wider professional community?
    • Please note that detailing the nominee’s rise up the organization’s ranks (e.g., from internal consultant to director to vice-president) says little about their unique contributions to the field, and reviewers cannot read between the lines.
    • Highlight how this individual contributed to or served SIOP (e.g., committee membership, program reviewer, workshop facilitator, conference presenter, etc.).
    • Although the nominee might not have published in scholarly journals, highlight contributions to trade associations, important whitepapers and technical reports, interviews in business outlets (e.g., Business Week, Fortune, Wall Street Journal), and publications in practitioner or professional journals. Identify whether the nominee has written or edited a widely read book in human resources or talent management.
    • Be specific and concrete. When possible, include metrics, facts, or other objective data to support your statements. They are much more persuasive than your opinions, beliefs, or personal views.
  • The closing paragraph should summarize the key reason(s) why this nominee merits consideration to become a SIOP Fellow.

Additional Points to Consider

  • Your endorsement should be clear, direct, and indisputable. It should be based on facts rather than opinions and specific contributions rather than general accolades.
  • Remember all nominees will have strong backgrounds and possess glowing letters of endorsement. What makes your nominee unique? Why does your nominee merit Fellowship? The more cogent story you can tell about this individual, the higher the likelihood the Committee will understand why you believe he or she should become a Fellow.
  • Although you should not repeat what is stated in the nominee’s vita, highlight specific examples and documented contributions to the field of I/O psychology this individual has made.
  • Consider incorporating select testimonials from clients, senior-level managers, the CEO, etc. who were impacted by the nominee’s work. A brief quote to underscore a point you are making can add important emphasis to a statement.
  • Be sure to highlight any efforts the nominee has made to promote the status, image, and value of I/O psychology in the business world.
  • Be sensitive to how your letter of endorsement might sound to the reader. Ask a colleague in your office to review the letter and provide feedback and suggestions before submitting it.

Go to Table of Contents Criteria for Fellowship in SIOP