How To Recommend Someone for a Job (With Example Letters)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated April 1, 2021 | Published February 22, 2021

Updated April 1, 2021

Published February 22, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Video: How To Ask for a Recommendation Letter for College or Work: 3 Key Steps

Jenn, a certified career coach at Indeed, shares her recommended approach for requesting a recommendation letter.

Some employers request letters of recommendation showing a candidate's character and qualifications to make sure they're a good fit for a job opening. A strong letter of recommendation could help someone begin or advance their career. Occasionally, a colleague, student or personal connection may ask you to recommend them for a new position. In this article, we explain the steps to recommend someone for a job and provide four example letters you can use to help you craft a strong recommendation.

Read more: What Is a Letter of Recommendation?

What is a recommendation letter?

A recommendation letter is a written testimonial supporting a job candidate's character or work ethic. It contains examples or stories that highlight a candidate's skills. You can write a recommendation letter for multiple situations, including:

  • Referring someone for a job

  • Supporting a colleague for a promotion

  • Recommending a student for a new role

How to recommend someone for a job

If a former student, colleague or even just a good friend ever approaches you for a letter of recommendation, there is a certain protocol you can follow to make the recommendation letter pop while making your job simpler. Use these steps to help you write a recommendation letter:

1. Speak to the candidate before you write

It's helpful to set aside some time to talk with the person you are referring before you write a recommendation letter. You can meet in person, talk over the phone or ask for information in an email. Ask the candidate to tell you about the position and their qualifications. You can also request a copy of their resume if you'd like to see more about their experiences and skills.

2. Format your letter

Recommendation letters are formal written documents. Use an official letterhead if your school or company provides one. Try to write in a professional voice and follow the formal letter format, which includes:

  • Your name and address

  • The date

  • Your recipient's name and address

  • A formal salutation such as "Dear"

  • A formal sign-off such as "Sincerely"

Read more: How To Write a Formal Letter

3. Introduce yourself and your position

Begin your letter with a brief introduction. Mention your job title, connection to the candidate and how long you've known them. By briefly showing how qualified you are, it can help your recommendation stand out to the recipient.

4. Customize for the role

Try to tailor each recommendation letter for the specific role by mentioning the company's name and the job title. If you are writing multiple recommendation letters, such as for a student applying to several internships, you can create a standard letter and customize this section for each recommendation.

5. Provide specific examples

When discussing the candidate's character, try to use two to three specific examples to support your claims. For example, when saying the candidate is a great leader, you can mention the time they directed a project.

6. Mention an accomplishment

If applicable, describe one of the candidate's specific achievements to further show how qualified they are. Consider successes such as an award, promotion or publication.

7. Offer to continue the conversation

You can end the letter by offering to speak further about the candidate and their qualifications. Include your email or phone number so the employer can contact you if they decide to.

8. Proofread and submit

Try to leave yourself some time to proofread the document carefully. If you wrote multiple letters, make sure you included the correct company name and job title.

To submit, check with the candidate and the job listing for the guidelines. Some positions use a submission website to handle recommendations. If this is the case, you can draft your letter separately and then submit using the server. If a company requests you send the recommendation by email, include your letter as an attachment.

Read more: 15 Tips for Writing a Great Letter of Recommendation

Example recommendation letters

When recommending someone for a job, it's helpful to look at sample letters as a reference. Here are four sample letters for different recommendation situations:

Recommendation letter for a colleague

This letter is an example you might use when recommending a colleague for a new role:

Karina Elroy
123 Main St.
Atlanta, Georgia, 30301

December 5, 2020

Kirsten Bridges
Hiring Manager
CreativeUnited
444 Elm Road
Atlanta, Georgia, 30301

Dear Ms. Bridges,

It is my pleasure to recommend Norman Mullins for the position of senior graphic designer at CreativeUnited. I am a marketing manager at Daffodil Design, where I've worked with Norman for the last four years. As his team member, I have seen Norman's strong work ethic and artistic talents. I know he would be a great fit for the senior graphic designer role.

Norman is one of the most determined professionals I've met. He consistently finished his projects early and with high client satisfaction rates. He asks for feedback from his peers and customers and constantly seeks to improve his work. He pushes himself to grow, and it's helped him become the talented designer he is.

As I'm sure you will see in his portfolio, Norman is an extremely talented designer. His designs are beautiful, user-friendly and memorable. Last year, one of his logos won the Best Design of the Year Award out of over 1,000 local designers. That logo was part of a design campaign that Norman supervised. He redesigned all the graphics for our client, securing $60,000 of additional revenue in one year.

Although I will miss him on our team, I know he'd excel in the senior graphic designer role at CreativeUnited. If you have further questions or want to hear more about Norman, you can reach me at 108-435-2426 or K.Elroy@email.com.

Sincerely,

Karina Elroy

Recommendation letter for a personal connection

There may be times you need to recommend a personal connection, such as an organization member or a close neighbor, for a role. Here is an example you can use to help you:

Garrett Chavez
Senior Volunteer Coordinator
Boston Animal Shelter
333 Broadway St.*
Boston, Massachusets, 02101

January 19, 2021

*Alicia Mitchell
Director of Sales*
InterTech
987 Main Road
Boston, Massachusets, 02101

Dear Ms. Mitchell,

It is my honor to recommend Taylor Osborne for the position of associate sales member at InterTech. With 15 years of experience as the volunteer coordinator for our local animal shelter, I've worked with many hardworking young professionals. Taylor stands out as one of the most thoughtful volunteers I've ever met. For the eight years I've known them, she has repeatedly impressed me with her excellent communication skills and attention to detail. I know she could bring these skills to InterTech and excel in the associate sales member position.

Taylor has an outgoing and friendly personality that makes her a pleasure to work with. She communicates clearly and professionally and understands different personalities well. Each weekend, I'd see Taylor match families with their perfect pet. She articulates each step of the adoption process and consistently scores highly on customer response surveys because of her friendly personality. As soon as Taylor told me about the sales position, I knew she'd be perfect for the role.

Taylor is also an incredibly careful volunteer with great attention to detail. She has planned many of our public events and managed our volunteer calendar. She brought care and organization into every project she started. These skills helped her win our Volunteer of the Year Award last year.

As Taylor graduates college and begins her career, I am completely confident that she would bring her strong communication skills and work ethic to the associate sales position. Please reach out if you have any further questions. You can contact me at 123-644-3343 or Garrettchavez@email.com

Sincerely,

Garrett Chavez

Recommendation letter for a promotion

Some companies require recommendation letters for promotions. You can use this letter to help you recommend a current colleague for a new position within your company:

Morgan Thad
Team Lead
Engineering Division
8ABC GlobalProjects

February 3, 2021

Brendan Shah
Human Resources Director
ABC GlobalProjects

Dear Mr. Shah,

After working with Dylan Ilmi in the engineering department for the last five years, I fully support his candidacy for the project manager role. As his team leader, I have watched Dylan grow from his first internship with us to his current role as a developmental engineer. His problem-solving abilities, leadership skills and dedication make him an ideal fit for the project manager role.

On our team, Dylan analyzes complex problems by developing new software and testing it regularly. He improved our internal software security, decreasing threats by 30% in one year. Last year, he began to work on our external software systems for clients. In only eight months, he produced a new software system that generated over $200,000 in revenue for a client.

In addition to his excellent technical engineering skills, Dylan is ready for a leadership role. Over the last five years, he has grown into a valuable resource for his colleagues. He helps them whenever he can by answering questions and training new team members. He's incredibly dedicated to our company, working hard to ensure each project is successful. He has won our team's Employee of the Month nine times, and although we'll miss him in our department, I know he is ready for more responsibilities.

I fully support Dylan's candidacy for the role of project manager. If you have further questions, you can reach me at 247-338-4467 or mthad@abcglobalprojectsemail.com.

Sincerely,

Morgan Thad

Recommendation letter for a student

If you work with students, they may ask you to write a recommendation letter for a scholarship, school admission, internship or an entry-level job. You can use this sample as a reference:

Cathy Gardner
Professor of History
Austin College
123 6th St.
Austin, Texas, 73301

February 11th, 2021

Jason Jennings
Director of Summer Program
Historical CitySites
88 Pine Road
Carlsbad, California, 92008

Dear Mr. Jennings,

It is my honor to recommend Robert Petra for the summer internship at Historical CitySites. I have had the pleasure of teaching Robert in four different courses over the last three years. He has also served as my teaching assistant and a tutor for my American Studies 101 course. I've been teaching for over 16 years now, and I can confidently say that Robert is one of the most diligent and passionate students I've met. I know he would bring his excellent historical knowledge, energetic personality and determination to the internship at Historical CitySites.

In his first course with me, Robert earned the highest grade in the class. His research paper showed a nuanced understanding of historical concepts. In class discussions, Robert was an energetic leader who spoke clearly, passionately and respectfully to his peers. He asked thoughtful questions and attended office hours to ensure he understood everything.

He's a dedicated student, always studying hard and completing any available extra credit assignments. He brings careful attention to all of his research. Last month, Robert published his first article, "The History of Austin," in The History World Journal, which is an incredible accomplishment. It was the first time in my entire career I had an undergraduate student published in such a prestigious journal.

I am confident Robert would excel in your summer program with his extensive knowledge and passion for history. I fully recommend him for the internship at Historical CitySites. I would be happy to talk further about Robert and his qualifications. You can reach me at 333-353-2323 or C.Gardner@austinemail.com.

Sincerely,

Cathy Gardner

Explore more articles