# How many letters of recommendations is too many

I am planning to apply for post-doc positions soon. Most universities require three letters of recommendation and most of peers suggested that I should have at least three research letters and one teaching (applying for a research post-doc). My advisor suggested that I have 4 research and one teaching letters. I was not sure if that's too many or the right amount. Any suggestions?

PS: If this question is out of place, please let me know and I will delete it.

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Twelve is too many. –  The Chaz 2.0 Nov 3 '11 at 23:50
$n+1$ where $n = \sup |\{\text{glowing reviews}\}|$. –  cardinal Nov 3 '11 at 23:54
@cardinal: determining $n$ seems $NP$-hard to me. –  B M Nov 3 '11 at 23:56
Is there any reason that you do not want to follow the advice of your advisor who knows you and your domain? Also, the country might be somewhat relevant for this question. –  Phira Nov 3 '11 at 23:56
In that case, you're probably in good shape, anyway. –  cardinal Nov 3 '11 at 23:56
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FYI postdoc applications are often winnowed down to the low double digits before letters are even looked at. If an applicant has no research interests in common with anyone in the department, or is $n$ years out of grad school with no publications, etc, they aren't considered. If someone is bothering to read your letters at all, they are reading all of them. Like everyone says, it doesn't pay to have letters from people who aren't extremely familiar with you (for postdocs, anyway; at the tenure-track level, having more than the required amount is almost always recommended, for other reasons). –  leslie townes Nov 4 '11 at 1:02