I applied for an internship opportunity with several private companies, and one of them got back to me over the phone. During the conversation, the HR manager mentioned in passing that they were willing to take me in as an intern largely due to the endorsement I received from a government department.
This was very shocking to me, because first of all, that recommendation letter was almost a carbon copy of 3 other letters. I applied to 3 different companies, so got one letter for each of them. And in each one, the only thing that was different was who it was addressed to. Everything else, from the heading to the body, was exactly the same. On top of that, it wasn't even a sparkling recommendation. It was simply, in sum, "he is part of our program and we are endorsing him, and would like you to make a 240-hour training program for him yourself, and we hope you agree."
My CV, on the other hand, looks impressive for an intern applicant. I've got a cum laude standing, and I've done impressive extracurriculars, received some great scholarships, and so on and so forth.
When I sent out the applications, I wasn't counting much on the recommendation except they'd get me noticed. But it seems to me that a bland recommendation has completely overpowered my CV. Is this an accurate feeling?
How important is a recommendation letter for an internship, and is this also the case for when you're applying for a job?
I'm asking because this might be a really good reason for me to ask for another recommendation when I do graduate (if they'll endorse me again). But I'd like to know how important this recommendation is first. I've always put value on the person doing the work, rather than the person talking about how great another person is, so this stuff is catching me off guard.