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How To Write a Letter of Recommendation [Template, Examples]

01 Letter Of Recommendation Format

Writing a letter of recommendation is a powerful way to support a colleague, employee, or student as they pursue new opportunities. Whether you’re recommending someone for a job, a scholarship, or a degree program, your words can have a significant impact on their future.

What is a recommendation letter

A letter of recommendation is a formal document written on behalf of an applicant by someone who can attest to the applicant’s academic or professional performance. This letter is usually sent to an admissions officer or hiring manager who is evaluating the candidate for admission, employment, or a scholarship. Letters of recommendation provide an overall statement of the applicant’s skills, achievements, and why their previous success means they will also add value in their next role. These letters are important for hiring managers see the applicant’s capabilities and achievements from the perspective of someone who has worked closely with them.

How to format a letter of recommendation

When formatting a letter of recommendation, it’s important to follow a structured approach to ensure that the letter effectively communicates the candidate’s qualifications and suitability for the role. Here’s a breakdown of the key sections to include:

  • Greeting: Address the recipient by name if possible, using “Dear Ms./Mr.” to establish a respectful and personalized tone.
  • Introduction: Provide an introduction that outlines your relationship to the applicant, offering context for your recommendation.
  • Recommendation: Highlight the candidate’s qualifications and what makes them a good fit for the role. Offer specific examples of their skills and qualifications that align with the position.
  • Closing: Provide an overview of why you recommend the candidate, summarizing the key points of the recommendation.
  • Signature, Contact Information: Conclude the letter by providing your signature, email address and phone number, allowing the recipient to follow up if needed.

It’s important to note that different organizations may have specific requirements for recommendation letters, so it’s advisable to inquire about any additional guidelines from the requester. Additionally, following the requested submission instructions and deadlines is crucial to ensure the effectiveness of the recommendation letter 

Tips for writing a standout letter of recommendation

When writing a letter of recommendation, it’s essential to ensure that it captivates the attention of its readers and effectively reflects the individual being recommended. Here are some indispensable tips to guide you in creating a truly standout letter of recommendation:

1. Understand the purpose

Before you begin writing, it’s crucial to understand why you are being asked to write the recommendation letter. Whether it’s for academic reasons, a job application, or a personal character reference, knowing the purpose will guide the tone and content of the letter. 

2. Provide concrete examples

Strong recommendations offer specific and personalized examples of the individual’s work or performance. Highlighting standout achievements, such as a top-performing project or academic performance, can significantly strengthen the recommendation. 

3. Be positive and accurate

It’s essential to maintain a positive tone throughout the letter while ensuring that the information provided is accurate and truthful. The letter should demonstrate that the individual would be an asset to the company, school, or program for which they are applying. 

4. Customize the letter

Tailoring the letter to the specific job or opportunity can make it more impactful. Consider the unique qualities or passions of the individual and how they align with the position or program they are applying for. 

5. Keep it concise and clear

Aim for a letter that is concise and to the point, typically one to two pages in length. Using active voice instead of passive voice can make the letter more powerful and easier to understand.

Letter of recommendation templates

Letter of recommendation sample for employee

Letter Of Recommendation Sample For Employee

Recommendation letter template employee
Download it here →

Letter of recommendation sample for student

Letter Of Recommendation Sample For Student

Recommendation letter template student
Download it here →

Letter of recommendation example

Subject: Letter of Recommendation for Emma Bradley

Dear Ms. Johnson,

I am writing to highly recommend Emma Bradley, who has been an invaluable asset as an assistant in my office for the past several years. Emma’s outstanding dedication to her work, her impressive productivity, and her positive outlook have greatly influenced our company during her time with us.

Emma has consistently demonstrated an exceptional level of productivity, setting a standard for quality and accuracy that is truly commendable. Her ability to handle a high volume of work while upholding stringent standards is a testament to her dedication and proficiency in her role.
Emma’s positive and capable attitude, along with her friendly and approachable nature, has made collaborating with her a delightful experience. Her positive energy, engaging personal style, and strong organizational skills have enabled her to effectively interact with both clients and colleagues. She has proven to be adept at coordinating events and maintaining the efficiency of our office.

Beyond her day-to-day responsibilities, Emma consistently demonstrates proactive behavior in anticipating and addressing administrative needs. Her willingness to go above and beyond the expected parameters of her role reflects her initiative and commitment to excellence.

I wholeheartedly recommend Emma Bradley based on her intelligence, work ethic, and strong communication skills. I am confident that she will continue to excel and add significant value wherever she chooses to work.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you require any further information regarding this outstanding young woman.

Brian T. Cropper
Chief Executive Officer
The Office Group

How to ask for a letter of recommendation

First, carefully consider the person you’re asking. Approach individuals who are familiar with you and can attest to your abilities and personal qualities. Avoid requesting too much from any one person and ensure that they have a good understanding of your work and abilities.

When reaching out to request a letter of recommendation, be clear and direct in your communication. Clearly state the purpose of your request and why you are asking the specific individual for the recommendation. Avoid being overly formal or including excessive small talk, as this may come across as insincere. Providing context for the request can be helpful. For example, if you’re applying to graduate school or a specific job, explain why you believe the individual’s recommendation would be valuable in that particular context. Highlight specific instances where the person has inspired you or provided valuable guidance.

Lastly, timing is key. Ask for a letter of recommendation well in advance of any deadlines to allow the individual enough time to craft a thoughtful and well-written recommendation.

FAQ: Letter of recommendation

Q: What is the purpose of a letter of recommendation?

In summary, the purpose of a letter of recommendation is to provide a comprehensive and formal assessment of an individual’s qualifications, character, and suitability for a specific role, whether it’s for employment, academic pursuits, or other opportunities.

Q: What are the different kinds of letter of recommendation?

A letter of recommendation can take various forms depending on the context in which it is used:
  • Academic Letters of Recommendation
  • Employment Letters of Recommendation
  • Character Letters of Recommendation

Q: Who should write the recommendation letter?

The people who write your recommendation letters may vary depending on the purpose of the letter. For potential job opportunities, managers or colleagues with experience observing and working with you may be able to provide the most valuable insights. If the recommendation letter is for academic purposes, counselors or professors who can speak to your academic abilities are often sought after.

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