November 14th, 2014
As you wrote your dissertation and searched for your first faculty job, your dissertation adviser was (I hope) there for you. He read countless drafts of your chapters. She helped you get published. He wrote scores of letters on your behalf. She may have even made phone calls for you. Now that you’re no longer a doctoral student, your adviser still may be the person who knows you best.
But how long can you keep turning to the same person to write you a letter of recommendation?
There is no definitive answer to that question. The good news is you can probably rely on your adviser until you’ve developed a new network of recommenders who don’t see you, first and foremost, as their student. The bad news is, at some point after completing the Ph.D., you’ll need to step out of your comfort zone and cultivate a network of people -- beyond your former professors -- who can write letters on your behalf. The sooner you cultivate that network, the better. It doesn’t need to happen in your first year on the tenure track, but it should happen before you submit your tenure application.