Recommendation Letter Choice Please help

Hi, I have multiple people to Recommendation letters. I am a Senior AI product manager with a technical focus.

  1. CEO at a small tech startup(AIGC focus) founded in 2022. The CEO used to be the Director/VP of Product Design at the Information Technology subsidiary of a Public Company with 4 billion+ US Dollar valuation. I helped him with Company building, gave some mentorship/advice on AIGC products and startup building
    (Drawbacks: The Public Company he worked for is not very digital technology, it’s more retail, selling food, etc. He works for the Information Technology subsidiary. And his startup doesn’t have much info and investment, no website. He has LinkedIn and 500+ connections.)

  2. CTO at a small tech startup (Web3 focus) founded in 2022. The CTO is my ex-colleague (not immediate colleague) we worked together for 2.5+ years. So he knows about my work. His company has info on Crunchbase and got a $50K investment from a notable VC.
    He used to be Tech Lead in the International Known IT Company and Tech Lead in the company we worked for.

  3. Senior Engineer at a US AI Startup with $300M fund raised. He has 10+ years of experience and worked as a Senior Engineer for companies such as IBM and Amazon. We have worked in the same company for only 2 months. So we know each other actually through others’ introductions. He worked for competitor companies. But we have shared opinions on products and the industry. He has heard about my work and knows about my mentorship program (train AI professionals in free time and help AI-focused entrepreneurs.)

  4. COO in a US-based AI startup. We know each other through interviews. He asked me a lot of questions and we chatted a lot. We haven’t made it to work together. But he definitely knows my work. (Drawbacks: No Crunchbase info, only pitchbook info and official website)

  5. CEO in an AI startup. We got to know each other through the Industrial Conference. Actually only met at the conference and had a deep chat. But at that time I got an offer from the company he was working for and got very good comments. He actively invited me to accept that offer.

  6. Applied Scientist in Amazon. We got to know each other because I organized a STEM-girl group chat. She knows about my work. But she has less than 5 years of experience.

  7. A famous open-source contributor and globally recognized tech/ academic leader. They both worked for my previous company, one with 8k+ github stars and 10+ global top tech conference speakers. One wtih 95+ citations

  8. ex-googler but now Freelance AI Scientist. We attend the same school but not the same major. Known through the introduction. He is the AI tech lead in Google AI and other notable public companies in the US. But he just resigned to be freelance. So he cannot use the Official Letterhead.

  9. Very famous AI Chief Scientist at Amazon. We have known each other in the SF Bay Area for many years. Met once and had some occasional chats on the products I worked on. He is very famous and senior. But we haven’t worked together that much.

  10. Other industry experts working for large companies such as Alibaba, and Tencent. I know them through the AI Tech Day Event I held. Had some chats but haven’t worked together that much.

  11. Technology Investors. I had a mentorship program, helping investors to understand AI products and opportunities and helping AI/tech entrepreneurs to be more prepared for product roadmapping, product marketing, and storytelling to investors. Therefore I cooperated with many investors. But I doubt if they count as digital technology industry experts.

Currently, I am preparing to choose 1,2 and 3. Please advise. @Francisca_Chiedu @deepak Thank you.

My Mandatory Criteria
1)Working for a leading Digital Technology company. Top 1 Market Share in AI vertical sector. Recognized by IDC as the market leader, Gartner’s innovator. I was there leading the key product driving the revenue growth 16 times, from Series B to Pre-IPO. Valuation several Billion USD.
2) Recommendation letter from Chief AI Architect + News Clip from Theuters etc. (Do I need one from CEO/CTO? While CTO is my direct report)
3) High salary
4) Drafter of two National AI standards. Proof of the Standards Authorization and they only invite industry experts. (High reputation of the Association and profile of other drafters.)

Optional- Innovation

  1. 2 Patents with Google patents ID and screenshots. Story of how I came up with the patents, and how I use them in the product to be innovative.
  2. Revenue(hundreds of millions) of the product I managed. How do the top media and agencies recognize my work/ product as innovative? How the innovative product helps with company to be innovative. Investors and valuation of the company. What the investor says about the company/product’s innovation.

Optional- Contribution
1)Reference letter from a previous investor, talking about how I helped with the company’s fundraising.
2)Reference letter from a co-worker, a senior AI engineer, talking about my contribution to product A.
3) Listing my contributions to two main products A and B, which make hundreds of millions of revenue.
Linking Google Docs of English versions of presentations and docs. (10+ docs covering Training, Product Design, Project Management, and Monetization) Linking to official websites.

Hi @Felicia_Xiao - very impressive profile.

On your recommendation letters - you have rightly focused on the recommenders public profile and their contribution to the tech sector. I would also encourage you to focus on the years of ‘working together’ with your recommenders - this is not apparent for 1. Provided them seeing your work for a decent period is strong, I wouldn’t worry too much about that their company is into retail, because as you say, he was leading their IT subsidiary.

2, seems like an apt recommender. On 3, to me 2-months of working together seems less, but would suggest you take viewpoints from others here. I would suggest you to drop 4 (I recently saw a rejection comment on another thread about the applicant knowing each other through an interview, please scroll through the other threads and see for yourself). 5 and 6 seem weaker associations, unless you can make a case otherwise. 7 seems very interesting - but depends on what they write about what their experience of working with you was. 8 can also be a good recommender - I feel if they saw your work in a different capacity, I don’t think it matters if they are a freelance right now (please cross-check). I would advise against 9 and 10. On 11, it seems like a cohort of investors, suggest you focus on a single person who will write you a recommendation and the work you did with them, along with their designation.

Your mandatory criteria documents seem impressive.
On Innovation - focus on the innovation itself, why you think its innovative (pre and post scenarios). Also focus on what your role was in the innovation because to me, on 2, it seems like a bigger team came up with the innovation?
Contribution evidences seem fine.
General comment - encourage you to use the full quota of 10 evidences - at the minute it is 4+2+3=9?Again, I am certain, I saw a rejection feedback on another thread here, where TN had literally commented on not reaching the full quota of evidences - please check.

In summary, you have a very strong profile, which should ideally be endorsed. Would suggest you keep refining your application till you iron out any weak-links. Take your time, but submit the strongest application you can.

Best of luck in your application :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you very much. @deepak
A. Recommendation Letter
Yep. If I look at “working together”, most recommendations would be from my ex-colleague in this IPO where I worked for 2.5 years.
Question 1) Is that okay to have 2 recommendation letters from ex-colleagues talking about the same work experience (they work for different companies now)?
I saw the rejection of recommendation letters talking about work within the same company. I think @Francisca_Chiedu said I need to talk about contributions outside of work in recommendation letters.

recommender choice 7: they are my ex-colleagues, for the engineer who has 8K+ GitHub stars I hesitate to use him as a reference letter or recommendation letter. The scientist with 95 citations could work as well. But if ex-colleagues who worked with me for over 2 years now in different companies work, I have plenty of choices. I am just worried about talking too much about my work inside the company shows no international/ industrial recognition.

B. For investors as recommenders,
The investor I worked with to raise funds now works as CTO in a Series C tech company. I currently use him as reference letter 1 for Contribution Criteria. Another choice is to move him to a recommendation letter. But there would be no evidence to talk about my investment contribution.
Another investor I worked with is a CEO in a fund, we have a mentorship program to help CEOs in AI companies and help them to spot AI investment opportunities. The recommendation letter choice No.1 is one of the CEOs involved.
2)Question: I doubt if the CEO of a Tech investment fund counts as a qualified recommender.

C. For innovation:
Yes. I read some threads so I’m going to work on the innovation part more. I will focus on talking about an innovative product I worked on.

D. For evidence: Yes. Thank you for the information. I do have more evidence and I am organizing multiple documents into one to make full use of the 3 pages limit. I just want to get the recommendation letter done first cause the signature takes time. I am reading all the related threads and watching videos to when the process is 80% done. I am thinking of submitting a cover letter to explain how the evidence ties to the criteria. ( But maybe not necessary because my evidence is used only once to support the criteria.)

And good news is the company I mentioned is going to IPO this week, and would be a giant one with global attention. So I might get more news exposure as well.

Thank you very much again. You are very helpful.

Hi @Felicia_Xiao

Just skimmed through your reply - a few quick comments

Q1: I remember from my time that the three recommenders had to be from three “different” organisations. But I just checked the TN guidelines, for some reason I don’t see it now. It just says “three different well-established individuals acknowledged as experts in the digital technology field, with detailed knowledge of your work over a period of 12 months or more” - would suggest you ask others because my knowledge on this topic seems to be dated now. Please check with others.

Q2: I don’t see why not - CEO of Tech investment fund, who are themselves well-established as experts in the digital technology field, with a detailed knowledge of your work should be okay to be your recommender.

General note- NO need for a cover letter. For explaining how the evidence ties together in your overall journey - you can do so in the Personal Statement (maximum 1000 words in length)

Congrats and best wishes on the IPO. See if the news exposure can become an evidence.

Best wishes on your application.

I think you dou have some string evidence. The evidence for innovation (OC1) looks solid, hopefully the patents are not recent as evidence closed to the timing of your application are not acceptable.
For OC3, looks good but ensure the letter contains metrics of your significant contribution and impact to the organisation.

For the mandatory criteria,

  1. What document are you providing for the first evidence, is it self authored?
  2. Looks ok
  3. Looks ok
  4. Looks fine as long as it is not just self authored evidence.

Do you have any high profile speaking event?

Thank you very much for replying.

OC 1: The patent is from 2019. So it’s not recent.
OC 3: Thanks. I’ll make sure the letter contains the metrics and match the news clip I mentioned.

Mandatory Criteria: Doc 1 information/ screenshots from authorized media such as IDC, Gartner, official website, and Crunchbase.
IDC: Top 1 Market Share in AI vertical sector
Official Website+ Garnter: Product Info
Job Description and Contract: Describe my role and responsibilities.
Crunchbase: valuation and fundraising.
Mandatory Criteria Doc 1 is just a bunch of screenshots of news clips and websites and should be closely related to Doc 2. But it’s just too long so I separated them.

Do I need to shorten the news clips and add a reference letter to doc 1, as the news doesn’t point out my name?

And what are your advice for writers of recommendation letters? I am going to choose Writer 1, 2, and a CFO of a famous US company who knows my work. 2 of 3 would be people outside of my job. I saw your advice in other threads to use external recommenders to show international recognition.

I got denied in MC and OC3. I don’t know what counts as self-authored. I indeed provide many self-authored information but I also provide news clipps.

For OC3:
TN’s comment: Regarding OC3, the self-certified documents, reference letters, and associated evidence are not suitable and need to be supported by external evidence. We are also unable to see any confirmation of her employment at XXX. Absent additional evidence we are unable to award OC3.

  1. I have a full document with narratives of my contribution and upload tons of working docs in Google Drive. But he said it is self-authored.
    The following is a screenshot:

  2. In order to prove my contribution to fundraising, apart from the reference letter, I added the Crunchbase screenshot and the S&P Global news screenshot. But he said there is no 3rd party evidence I don’t know why.

  3. Apart from the reference letter, I added News about the product I am responsible for.
    Yes. The news is not about myself, it’s about the product and company.
    The confirmation of employment is already provided in MC proof. I thought they had already gone through it as they recognized my high salary evidence in the same company.