While it is quite natural to think that the value added to your candidature by a recommendation letter is directly proportional to the designation of the recommender, it actually is not true at all. The significance of the recommendation entirely depends on how well the recommendation knows you and your academic interests and capabilities. The Chairman of your college surely holds a position of respect and power in the Institution but when it comes to who to get your recommendation letters from, that Assistant Professor under whose guidance you undertook your final year project or even a few subjects, will prove to be a more beneficial choice.
In case of professionals, getting an LOR from your senior holds greater value than that written by your peer for the simple reason that a peer may agree to write the letter and also adorn it with your praises for the sake of goodwill and friendship. This generally means that you should select present or former direct supervisors. Also, instead of going for employees with much higher designation than yours, just because they hold that designation, it is advisable to select recommenders who may have witnessed your work and achievements directly. In order to create a positive impact of your candidature on the Admission Committee, always select recommenders who think and speak positively about you as that surely reflects in their recommendation. Alternatively, if the recommender had been professionally associated with you in the past, relationship management plays a vital here. Choose a recommender with whom you have maintained a positive relationship. If this prospective recommender does not clearly remember your skills and accomplishments of the past, make sure you clearly remind as well as brief him about them.
Your prospective recommender should be well aware and confident of what he is going to write about your candidature. Don’t select a person who has nothing significant to write about you other than your extra-curricular activities and achievements. I am denying the fact that extra-curricular achievements hold significance in your candidature but your academic and professional proficiencies hold equal significance if not more. So, select a recommender who you think will be able to provide a holistic view of your candidature through his writing. Another important aspect to be kept in mind is not to select a person who, for any reason, is unconvinced about you joining this university or course. Also read How to Make Impressive LORs for more information.
Your recommenders should be people who have you in their good books, your success should matter to them and they should be confident about your skills and aptness for the course and university you are applying to. Also, the recommender should be able to draft a comprehensive letter not just listing your qualities but also conveying your abilities and future scope in a humble manner.
So, before you select your recommenders, sit and think that their letters may either make or break your chances of your admission to your desired university. So before you zero on a recommender, prepare an exhaustive list of all the people you can think of who could possibly play this important role. Once you have the list, analyze each person’s (on the list) possible contribution to your admission and subsequently select your recommenders based on what you have just read in this article. To know what exactly an LOR is, read Introduction to LOR.