- How to Write a Good Letter of Recommendation
- What is the main purpose of a letter of recommendation?
- How to create the best content?
- Why give specific examples?
- How to use powerful words?
- How to state all relevant information?
- Key points to remember
- Recommendation letter writing don’ts
- A helpful recommendation letter sample
- What’s next?
As a college counselor, I’ve worked with writing a letter of recommendation. The main problem is that I had no clear sense of what should go into this letter at the very beginning, though I wanted to help every student. That’s why I researched and read many letters with positive results. This helpful guide offers the top lessons that each candidate should learn when applying to any company to increase a chance to win.
What is the main purpose of a letter of recommendation?
Every hiring manager puts a lot of weight on a letter of recommendation, especially if many qualified candidates complete and they have a limited number of vacancies. This letter helps employment agents differentiate one applicant from another. When recommending others, I focused on a list of important personal and professional qualities to stand out and beat competitors.
Candidates often send a letter of recommendation in addition to a resume to provide potential employers or admissions officers with a more detailed description of their traits and experiences and prove that they’re in line with all requirements. It’s necessary to follow a correct format to succeed.
How to create the best content?
I find these pointers useful for recommenders, like a colleague, a supervisor, or anyone else:
- The context of relationships with applicants;
- State whether they demonstrate their willingness to go beyond standard experience and take intellectual risks;
- Mention if they have unusual talents, abilities, or competence;
- Write about motivations or interests;
- Describe both personal and social skills;
- Discuss how applicants face failures or disappointments;
- Include any unusual community or family circumstances that employers may want to know.
Why give specific examples?
The best letter of recommendation supports a praise of candidates with specific observations, anecdotes, or other examples because they support the claims writers make. Another reason to use them is that examples make it more interesting to read and help appliances come to life. Personal stories helped me prove that I’m qualified to assess others. It’s important to be intentional with the word choice and think about the adjectives and phrases that will create a strong and clear image.
How to use powerful words?
A good letter of recommendation is always clear and eloquent. I used the following powerful words:
- Analytical, innovative, insightful, observant, and curious (to describe strengths);
- Flexible, versatile, resourceful, ethical, generous, and ambitious (to describe professional and personal strengths).
How to state all relevant information?
There are some basic details that any letter of recommendation should contain:
- The explicit statement of who I recommend;
- Telling readers who I am.
Start it with a catchy or creative hook or write a more straightforward statement of endorsement before focusing on major themes and using personal observations, statements of ranking, or powerful language. Attest a potential for future contributions and achievements. Conclude a letter of recommendation with contact data and an invitation to email or contact you to get detailed explanations or ask questions.
Key points to remember
There are certain do’s and don’ts that I considered when writing my letter of recommendation. What are they?
- Include key details to explain basic information to potential employers;
- Highlight the main qualities to help them get a better understanding of a candidate’s possible accomplishments;
- Be enthusiastic when discussing both personal traits and professional skills;
- Provide impressive and high rankings if it’s possible;
- Be intentional in the word choice, avoid clichés, and use powerful phrases;
- Conclude with a strong supporting statement, an invitation for contacting you, and a vision of an applicant’s future success.
Recommendation letter writing don’ts
What did I avoid in the process?
- Listing adjectives with no examples to support them;
- Providing a reference for people without honestly recommending them;
- Using unenthusiastic, generic, and bland words or clichés;
- Using the same letter of recommendation for many people, especially if they’re applying for the same position;
- Saying a lot without telling readers anything important or relevant;
- Repeating the same resume points and quantitative data from other application parts.
What if the above-mentioned guidelines aren’t enough?
A helpful recommendation letter sample
Check out this brilliant letter of recommendation sample and use it as your written template to simplify the entire process.
Dear Mr. Smith:
I’m writing this letter of recommendation in support of Michael Jones, my friend, and college roommate. We’ve been good friends over the past few years. If you’re looking for a responsible, clever, and talented person, he is your best match for a number of reasons.
Michael was engaged in all classes. He studied for long hours both to earn high grades and fulfill his desire to understand the given materials. He displayed excellent qualifications when he started to work. Michael has a caring and supporting character. As a friend, he supported me in a difficult life period when my parents passed away after our college graduation. He has a talent for building and maintaining strong relationships with people.
I feel and I’m sure that his excellent relationship-building and other skills would help him succeed as an employee of the X Company. He can be an asset to any employer, and it’s my pleasure to recommend him, so don’t hesitate to be in touch to ask any additional questions.
Sincerely, Jason McArthur