I constructed this web-based survey containing 13 short questions. Four were aimed at eliciting a few quotable sentences, and the rest were administrative. I attempted to reduce the amount of bias introduced by choosing not to mention my career goals, and by sending the same email out to potential participants. I did not want people to tell me what they thought I (or potential employers) may want to hear...
The email I sent to my former co-workers is below. Note that I sent a slightly modified version of this email to my references at the University of Washington Information School, but the core content was identical.
I'm interested in how you're all doing and I have a favor to ask – hopefully it won't take too much of your time.
If I haven't already contacted you individually, I'll try to do so soon. You have all had various roles in my career and may have given me advice, encouragement, opportunities, ideas, or just been a pleasure to work with. Although I hope I've thanked you in the past, I'd like to thank you again for working with me, teaching me, and at times putting up with me. I really appreciate it! :-)
I recently completed my Masters of Library and Information Science degree at the University of Washington, and now I'm poised to start a new career. Rather than simply ask some of you to act as a reference, I thought I'd try something new. If you have the time and the interest, I'd like to ask you to take a short survey about me. This isn't what you might think of as a standard evaluation or recommendation. My ultimate goal is to obtain quotes from many of you that I can use on my portfolio website. I’m hoping to get something along the lines of a book recommendation from an expert that you'd find on the back or sleeve of a book. I'll compile your responses (without altering anything, although I may not use all your submissions) and place them up on the web for potential employers to peruse. I’d appreciate your help, and it might even save you a reference phone call or email. If nothing else, I'm hoping it's a harmless experiment. :-)
The survey can be found here: https://catalysttools.washington.edu/webq/survey/adcockm/61898
Since I don't want to bias you anymore than I already have, I'd prefer if you could complete the survey first, and then take a look at what I've been doing and what I plan to do (if you're interested): http://students.washington.edu/adcockm/portfolio/
I look forward to getting back in touch with each of you.
Thanks for your time!
(Formerly of UH, Pixel-Head, Bsquare, RAF, and UW)
This short survey asks you to think about your experiences when working with Michael Adcock, and provide some thoughts and comments on what he has to offer as a working professional.
Most of the 13 questions are optional and can be skipped. They are designed to help you think about what you, as an expert, might say in your "back of the book recommendation" about Michael. I'll ask for your recommendation quote near the end. At the end of the survey I will ask for permission to use your responses, your permission to act as a reference, and current contact information.
Thanks for your patience!
- Please tell me your name:
- What was your role in relation to Michael?
- On what project(s) did you work with Michael?
- Were there any particular activities or tasks where Michael excelled?
- What characteristic(s) about Michael set him apart?
- What skills does Michael possess that were valuable in your work?
- Briefly, in a few sentences, please provide a recommendation for Michael. If you had the chance to recommend Michael (as an employee) to a friend, what would you want to say?
- May I use your responses (with quotes and attribution) on my professional portfolio website? (y/n)
- May I use you as a professional reference? (y/n)
- Please tell me your current title:
- Please tell me your current company:
- Please tell me your current (business) phone number:
- Please tell me your current (business) email address:
Thanks so much for your time!
I hope this survey wasn't too long or painful, and I really appreciate your feedback and comments! Assuming this idea works out, I'll contact you again when I've compiled the responses and quotes and my professional portfolio is ready.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.