How to Write Letters of Recommendation

It might seem a bit scary when you think about writing letters of recommendation, when you’ve never written one before. But, you need to know that all the different types of letters of recommendation contain the same elements and you can learn them really easy. When writing letters of recommendation, you need to create a letter which will be made of details about your relation to the person you are writing about, information about the qualifications of that person and true and honest praise. One important thing is to know what’s the purpose of the recommendation letter so that you write the right things and target the right fields. This goes for all recommendation letters, no matter if they are for an academic acceptance, a job or something else.

When starting with writing the letter, keep in mind to always stick to standard writing conventions for formal letters. This is also a professional communication so the guidelines and rules are the same.

  • Write your address at the top right of the page and then add the date.
  • Write the name of the recipient on the left.
  • Use a formal greeting like Dear Sir or Madam or Dear Mr./Mrs (last name) to open the letter

Start with a praise. Make it short but enthusiastic. Let the reader know that you truly believe in the person you are writing about and in his skills. Don’t lie, just be honest and positive. Use phrases like:

  • “No matter he/she does, it’s always done really good”
  • “Any firm should be happy to have an employer like (person’s name), who is one of the friendliest, most dedicated and bright people that I know.”
  • It makes me really proud to recommend (person’s name) for the job position you have opened…”

Describe your relation to the person. There needs to be context for the recommendation. The reader should be informed how you met that person, what are his/her qualifications and how you worked together.

List specific successes and qualifications. Don’t just generalize, use specific examples instead to show the achievements and successes of the candidate. Offer stories, evidence and specific instances.

Make some comparisons in order to better show the candidate’s success. This way, the reader will have some basis to better understand the reason for your recommendation.

Don’t praise too much, know the limits. If you have an opinion on it, show where the candidate can improve and change something. If you put the candidate on a pedestal, the reader will likely have some doubts and everything will seem a little less true to him.

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