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What about letters from, say, 2015? Are they too old? I am an assistant professor since 2016 and I am considering going on the market this year. thanks for your inputs


Someone ... and Marcus
Hi, it is Bm again. First, letters from 2015 are ABSOLUTELY too old if you are looking for a mid-level (assoc. prof) move. You need new letters. They need to talk about what you have done recently.
Marcus: I have been fortunate. A few times senior people have contacted me about my work, out of the blue. In one case, it was very fortuitous, as I was just completing a book, and was able to get a backcover endorsement for my book from Senior person.
Like you, I am not a big networker. But there is something I do that has helped me. When I read someone's paper or book and I really enjoy it, I write them and tell them so. I have done it to Junior people, Mid-career and senior. This practices has led to some very satisfying exchanges.
The best way for a shy person to connect with senior people is to send them a paper that addresses their work that you have written

New Associate

I'd say that letters that are more than one year old are probably too old, and that having your advisor write a letter when you're more than a few years out makes you look like a grad student rather than a colleague. As for how to make those connections, I'm not sure - you should be going to conferences and talking philosophy with people whose work you enjoy, and willingness to write letters would I think come pretty naturally out of that (or else be a good indication that you should perhaps not being trying to move).


Hi, I just want to make a note about something (probably particularly relevant for people trying to move to R1-type jobs, from any kind of jobs): if the place you end up needs external tenure letters, you should keep in mind that anyone who writes you a recommendation for a job will very likely be excluded from being able to serve as such a letter writer. So, you might want to balance the advice given here so far against that.

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