11 Impactful Words To Use In a Letter of Recommendation

Updated February 20, 2023

A letter of recommendation is a piece of writing that illustrates an individual's positive traits, work ethics and capabilities. People searching for a new opportunity often ask a senior or trusted professional for a letter of recommendation because the letter appears more credible when it comes from a reputable source. Knowing effective vocabulary to include in your letter can help to make it more effective and meaningful.

In this article, we discuss 11 impactful words you can use in your letter of recommendation.

Read more: How To Write a Letter of Recommendation (With Template and Example)

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What is a letter of recommendation?

A letter of recommendation, sometimes called a letter of reference, is written on behalf of someone else and presents that person's best qualities to a potential new employer or hiring manager. People regard letters of recommendation as supplementary documentation or persuasive writing, similar to a cover letter. The letter of recommendation also describes the writer's relationship with the referred person and why they recommend them for a specific role or organization. The writer testifies for the person by using encouraging and thoughtful language because a letter of recommendation is about reinforcing a positive narrative.

Read more: What Is a Letter of Recommendation?

Why is a letter of recommendation important?

A letter of recommendation is important because it helps demonstrate a candidate's advantages and increases their chances of getting hired or chosen. The letter of recommendation is especially beneficial for high school and college students because it supplements their lack of post-academic job experience. A letter of recommendation is also important for these additional reasons:

  • It presents an idea about your character and personality from another person's perspective.

  • You may need one to be considered for higher-level job roles later in your career.

  • You sometimes need one to be eligible for certain scholarships.

  • You may need one to be admitted into certain institutions and academic spaces.

  • You can learn how to write a letter of recommendation for someone else.

Read more: How To Ask for a Letter of Recommendation (With Examples)

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11 words to use in a letter of recommendation

In reference letters, people use the same recommendation words because they effectively convey an uplifting vision of an individual's character. Some of these recommendation words work best either in the letter's introduction, middle or conclusion. Here are 11 common, impactful words to use in a letter of recommendation:


Honored is an impactful word that gives an impression of an individual who is dignified and respected. Use this word in the introduction of the reference letter.

Example: "I am Leslie White, a senior audio engineer here in Little Rock, and I am honored to write this letter of recommendation for Gina Lee."


Pleased is a word that illustrates an individual who is pleasant to be around and good-natured. Use this word in the introduction of the reference letter.

Example: "I am Carl Jones, a high school math teacher, and I am pleased to write an endorsement for Thomas Henderson."


Delighted is a good recommendation word because it shows the writer is cheerful and enthusiastic about who they are writing the letter about. It conveys strong enthusiasm to the reader. This word fits best in the introduction of the reference letter.

Example: "I have supervised Kelly Foreman for three years, and I am delighted to write a character reference for her."


Acquainted is a word that presents the history between the writer and the person they're describing. The word works well in the middle of the reference letter.

Example: "I first became acquainted with Mr. Rodriguez when he volunteered at a local bookstore."


Dependable is a good recommendation word because it illustrates an individual that is trustworthy, reliable and has an excellent work ethic. Try to use the word in the middle of the reference letter.

Example: "I have worked with John Henry for six months and am thoroughly impressed by his commitment to his role. Without a doubt, his greatest quality is that he is dependable, to a fault."


Intelligent is a descriptive word that depicts someone thoughtful and reasonable. It also presents the idea that a person has practical and emotional intelligence. The word works well in the middle of the reference letter.

Example: "He started working at our hospital in Toronto as a nursing aide about a year ago and has proven himself to be highly intelligent."

Valuable asset

Valuable asset is a good recommendation phrase because it describes a person whose capabilities and skills are worth investing in. Try using the word in the conclusion of the reference letter.

Example: "I am positively certain she would be a valuable asset for your project as well."


Driven is a word that describes a person who is goal-oriented and highly motivated in the work they do. It may also describe someone who frequently shows initiative. The word fits well in the middle of the reference letter.

Example: "He is an exceptionally driven young man and very goal oriented."


Genuine means that an individual has a sincere personality and is true to who they are. It speaks to their authenticity, a trait many deem trustworthy. Try using the word in the middle of the reference letter.

Example: "She has a genuine compassion for other people who are in need."

Related: How To Write a Thank You Note for a Recommendation Letter


Qualified speaks to an individual who is capable and has the credentials and expertise to perform a job. When a letter describes someone as qualified, it means that they possess most or all necessary skills. Try using the word in the middle or the conclusion of the recommendation letter.

Example: "He is highly qualified for the position thanks to his five years of experience as a chef."


Adaptable describes someone who is flexible and can handle unexpected changes in a particular job or career. Sometimes people who are adaptable encourage such changes because they see it as a challenge that keeps their work day interesting and engaging. You can try using the word at any stage of the reference letter.

Example: "During her time at our firm, she was incredibly adaptable and could handle any task that came up."

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