Career Advice

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation (With Templates)

Recommendation letters typically detail a person’s professional or academic accomplishments. Brevity is essential to making them impactful. Here is your trusted guide for creating these documents including templates.

What Is a Letter of Recommendation?

A letter of recommendation is a snapshot of a person’s strengths, talents, and qualifications for potential employers. Typically requested from past supervisors, managers, and professors, these letters carry significant weight in hiring. The more personalized these letters are, focusing on a job seeker’s abilities, the more effective they become.

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Tips for Writing a Letter of Recommendation

While employing a suitable template is helpful (and encouraged), here are some tips on how to make them effective.

Discuss the Letter With the Candidate

Clarifying the letter’s purpose up front helps shape your approach. If it’s for a character reference, you can emphasize the person’s qualities that showcase their integrity and trustworthiness.

For job applications, focus on achievements related to the role. Sharing a story about project leadership or successful client interactions makes a compelling case, and it will increase the job seeker’s chances of getting an interview.

The person requesting the letter should share supplemental information with you, such as their most recent resume, contact information for the recipient, the job description, and any specific details they want to include. You should also know of any deadlines so the letter can be sent accordingly.

Do Your Own Research

You may need to review your firsthand experiences with the person requesting the letter, mainly if it’s been a while since you shared a professional relationship with them. If you have access to employment or educational records, they can be a valuable source of information and may inspire some helpful talking points. 

If you don’t have these documents, reflect on your relationship with the person. Consider any projects or tasks they may have worked on with you. From there, pinpoint a few highlights, such as developing a novel solution to a challenging problem or completing a task before the deadline.

Personal attributes can also strongly impact recommendation letters. Remember to recall the person’s outstanding qualities, such as interpersonal skills.

Format Your Letter for Maximum Impact

There are specific details to include in your letter to make the best impression:

  1. Start with a welcome 
  2. State the purpose of the recommendation
  3. Include reasons for your support
  4. Share how the candidate has made an impact
  5. Wrap up the letter with an endorsement
  6. Add your contact information
  7. Close with a formal sign-off

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How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

There are factors to consider for job seekers deciding who to ask for a letter of recommendation. The person should be well acquainted with you and your professional output and view your contributions favorably. While not mandatory, recommendation letters are more effective when they come from a supervisor or another authority figure. 

When requesting a letter of recommendation, politeness matters—mentioning specific qualities you admire in the person, such as solid leadership skills, can strengthen your request.

Also, give the person ample time to research and write the letter. The ideal time to discuss recommendation letters is when you leave a job or graduate from college. 

Also, remember that some people may not have the time or feel comfortable writing a letter. In this case, sincerely thank them for their time. Remember, empathy and understanding matter, especially when receiving news you don’t like.

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Letter of Recommendation Templates 

Below are two recommendation letter templates, each thoughtfully designed to help you articulate the job seeker’s strengths and achievements. These templates provide a solid foundation you can personalize to suit different purposes.

1. Template for Job Seekers

[Recipient Name]

[Recipient Title]

[Recipient Company/Organization]

Dear [Recipient Name],

Please accept my enthusiastic recommendation of [Candidate Name] for [Job Title/Position] at [Company/Organization].

My name is [Your Name], and I [worked/collaborated] with [Candidate Name] at [Company] for [length of time]. During that time, I [explain your professional relationship with the candidate] and was genuinely impressed by the contributions [they] made to the workplace.

[Candidate Name] exhibited [one to two qualities] and played an essential role in [work task/project]. Because of [their] contributions, [Employer/Organization] was able to [specific achievement], which might not have been possible without [Candidate Name’s] assistance.

Additionally, [Candidate Name] exhibits [specific quality] and proved to be a significant asset to [Employer/Organization]. I can easily say that [Candidate Name] is among the most [specific qualities] of all the [employees/collaborators] with whom I’ve been professionally acquainted.

Based on my experience, I’m confident that [Candidate Name] would make an outstanding addition to your [Company/Organization]. Please feel comfortable contacting me at [phone number] or [email] if you’d like to learn more about [Candidate name] and [their] impressive achievements.

Sincerely,

[Your Name and Title]

2. Template for Students

Recipient Name]

[Recipient Title]

[Recipient Company/Organization]

Dear [Recipient Name],

Please accept my enthusiastic recommendation of [Student Name] for [Job Title/Position/Opening] at [Company/Organization]. 

My name is [Your Name], and I am [Title] at [Academic Institution]. [Student Name] was my [description of academic relationship] for [length of time]. During that time, I was genuinely impressed by the contributions [Student Name] made to [Academic Program/Project].

[Student Name] consistently exhibited [one to three qualities] in my class. While working on [Academic Program/Project], [they] was responsible for [specific achievement] that set the bar relatively high for other students working on [Academic Program/Project].

Additionally, [Student Name] stood out among my pupils thanks to [their] [specific quality/qualities] and remained a bright point of my academic career. I would be overjoyed to collaborate with [Student Name] in the future, and I know they’d make an outstanding addition to your team. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me via [phone number] or [email] if you have further questions or want more information. 

Sincerely, 

 [Your Name and Title]

Wize Words

A well-crafted letter of recommendation provides concrete evidence that an applicant has made noteworthy achievements in professional or academic settings. It also illustrates that the person has forged lasting connections, which speaks to their character. These letters and a strong resume can boost a job seeker’s chances of snagging an interview.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a co-worker write a letter of recommendation?

It’s essential to consider the source when obtaining recommendation letters for a job application. While letters from co-workers can undoubtedly speak to your teamwork abilities, it’s best to seek out letters from managers or individuals in positions of authority whenever possible. These sources are better suited to provide a comprehensive assessment of your skills and job performance, which can be invaluable for hiring.

Should you send a recommendation letter via email?

It’s perfectly acceptable to submit a letter of recommendation via email. In this case, double-check the email address to ensure the letter goes to the correct person. Perform the same due diligence if sending the letter in the mail, and make sure you have the correct suite or office number for the recipient. 

Author

  • Stacie Adams

    Stacie Adams is a seasoned writer with a passion for topics affecting modern workplaces, especially topics relevant to the restaurant and food industry. She’s written extensively on legal issues affecting businesses, including discrimination, contractual disputes, and safety code violations.

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The article was reviewed by Deirdre Sullivan

Stacie Adams

Stacie Adams is a seasoned writer with a passion for topics affecting modern workplaces, especially topics relevant to the restaurant and food industry. She’s written extensively on legal issues affecting businesses, including discrimination, contractual disputes, and safety code violations.

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