Writing a recommendation letter is easy and we’ll be showing you how easy it is in this guide. Having someone speak positively about your qualifications and character can significantly boost your chances of landing a job. A letter of recommendation serves as a formal endorsement of your abilities, whether they’re related to work, skills, or academic achievements.
You may want to ask for one when you apply for a job, and you might also be requested to write one for someone else.
In this article, we’ll guide you on How to Write a Letter of Recommendation We’ll supply you with a template and a real-life example to use as references. Also, we’ll show you how to request a letter of recommendation for yourself from someone familiar with your work.
What is a Recommendation Letter?
A letter of recommendation is an official document that evaluates a person’s qualifications for a specific role. It’s important to note that recommendation letters are different from regular references, which are typically communicated informally through email or phone conversations.
How to Write a Recommendation Letter?
A genuine recommendation provides a firsthand account of your experiences with the person you’re endorsing. To determine if you should agree to write a recommendation, consider the following:
- Have you worked alongside or closely observed the applicant?
- Can you recall the specific projects they completed under your supervision?
- Are there notable strengths and skills you can personally discuss?
- Do you have concrete examples of the applicant’s work?
- Can you offer positive feedback about this individual?
If you don’t have sufficient positive experiences or information to share about the applicant, it’s best to communicate this respectfully and promptly. Doing so allows the candidate ample time to seek an alternative solution.
Letter of Recommendation Format
When writing a letter of recommendation, make sure it includes these five key elements:
- Introduction: Start with a brief introduction that mentions who you are, your connection to the applicant, and your relevant experience or expertise.
- Strengths Overview: Highlight the applicant’s strengths as you’ve observed them and explain how these strengths align with the recipient’s needs.
- Personal Story: Share a personal story that illustrates one or two specific traits or qualities the applicant possesses, providing concrete examples.
- Closing Statement: Summarize why you believe the person you’re recommending is a strong match for the opportunity they are pursuing.
- Signature: Conclude the letter with your name and contact information.
If the candidate hasn’t provided you with their updated resume and the job description, don’t hesitate to request these documents. They will help you gain a comprehensive understanding of the applicant’s experiences and achievements.
Also, reviewing the job description will help you tailor your recommendation to align with the specific qualities and qualifications the employer is seeking in a candidate.
Recommendation Letter Template
Whether you’re writing a recommendation letter for a student or a job applicant, it should follow a similar structure as outlined above. You can use our free template as a reference or inspiration when crafting your own:
[Institution or Company Name]
[Your Contact Information]
To Whom It May Concern:
I am pleased to provide a strong recommendation for [Applicant Name], who is applying for [position with Company Name] or seeking acceptance to [Institution Name].
I have [number] years of experience in [your industry or academic focus] and have had the opportunity to work with many individuals over the years. [Applicant Name] is a standout candidate among them.
Throughout our collaboration, [Applicant Name] consistently demonstrated exceptional [skill, trait, experience, class, etc.]. From our initial encounter, I was impressed by [Applicant’s Name], and as we worked together, their grasp of [key topic] surpassed that of their peers.
[Here, share a personal anecdote that highlights key skills, traits, or experiences.]
What truly sets [Applicant’s Name] apart is not just their technical proficiency but also their positive attitude and [positive trait]. Their [positive trait] and [positive trait] were not only appreciated by me but also by their peers, who often relied on them to achieve our common goals.
I am confident that [Applicant Name] would be an excellent addition to your [Institution/Company]. They possess the skills and experiences you seek in an applicant and will undoubtedly contribute to the growth and success of your organization in various capacities.
If you require additional information or specific examples, please feel free to contact me at [contact information]. A recommendation letter provides only a glimpse of [Applicant’s Name] talents and accomplishments, and I am more than willing to provide further insights into my experiences working alongside them.
[Your Company or Institution]
Letter of Recommendation Writing Tips
Here are some tips to make your recommendation letter more understandable:
- Stay Positive: Ensure that your letter wholeheartedly supports the candidate as an ideal fit for the job. Avoid any negative comments or reservations. Use impactful words that leave a positive impression on the reader.
- Formal Format and Tone: Use a standard business letter format and maintain a formal and polite tone throughout the letter. If possible, write the letter on your organization’s letterhead. Aim for a letter length of one to two pages.
- Emphasize Key Qualifications: Focus on the candidate’s most significant qualifications that align with the job description. Highlight two or three key achievements and provide specific examples to illustrate why they are well-suited for the role.
- Follow Instructions: Consult with the candidate regarding how they prefer you to submit the letter. Strictly adhere to any submission guidelines and deadlines to ensure their application is not adversely affected.
- Proofread: Pay close attention to the correct spelling of names, both the candidate’s and the company’s. Reading your letter aloud can help you catch grammatical errors or mistakes. Additionally, consider asking a trusted friend or colleague to review your letter for further assurance.
The above are guide to follow.
Requesting a Recommendation Letter.
At some point, you might find yourself in a situation where you need to ask someone for a recommendation letter.
When considering potential recommenders, think about reaching out to former managers, colleagues, teachers, mentors, clients, or vendors who are familiar with your skills, traits, and work ethic. It’s important that you’ve had a positive working relationship with them and that they can provide meaningful insights into your abilities.
Before formally requesting the recommendation, have a conversation with the person you’d like to ask. Once you’ve discussed it with them, follow up with a formal email that includes the following details:
- Your resume to provide them with a comprehensive overview of your background.
- The job description or details of the opportunity for which you need the recommendation.
- Specific submission instructions and any requirements they need to know.
- The deadline by which the recommendation letter must be submitted.
To make the process smoother for your recommender, you might also consider sending them a template to use as a starting point. This can reduce their workload and make them more inclined to agree to your request.
Pro tip: Request the recommendation letter at least two weeks in advance of the deadline to allow the person ample time to craft a thoughtful letter, especially if they are working on multiple recommendations simultaneously.
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