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How to Write a Letter of Recommendation (With Sample and Template)

A letter of recommendation describes the qualifications someone has in relation to the workplace or in education. They discuss how the attributes of the applicant make them a good fit for the position. These letters are normally sent directly to the hiring manager by former employers, colleagues, clients or educators. Continue reading to see a recommendation letter sample and learn more about how to write letters of recommendation.

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Why you should consider writing a letter of recommendation

If someone has asked you to write a letter of recommendation, take a moment to pat yourself on the back. It means you’ve made a positive impact on someone who trusts you to help build their future. When applying to a competitive job or degree program, someone who can vouch for the applicant’s performance carries a lot of weight. They help round out an application by speaking to personal qualities or achievements not easily seen on an application. It also provides a future employer direct insight into how a candidate may perform in the workplace andinteract in the culture.

Writing a letter of recommendation for a former employee or colleague helps set their application apart from others. However, it’s important to consider if your experience or expertise provides relevant input. If you have a strong engineering background, the insight you give in your letter of recommendation may not be as applicable to a position in graphic design. It also may be unwise to provide a good character reference for someone you barely know. It’s always ok to decline if you don’t feel you’re able to provide valuable insight into a person’s career or character. If you’ve never written a letter of recommendation, see our recommendation letter sample below and gauge how comfortable you feel providing the same level of input.

How to write a letter of recommendation

There are many types of letters of recommendation. Whether you’re writing about someone’s professional expertise, academic accomplishments or character, formatting remains about the same. A letter of recommendation normally includes the following parts:

Greeting

The first line of your letter should start with a simple greeting, such as “Dear Mr./Ms./Mx./Dr. ____”. Creative openings should be avoided to maintain a professional tone. If you’re unsure of the recipient’s name, you can open with “To whom it may concern.”

Introduction

The next line should state who you’re writing on behalf of and the position for which they’re applying. It’s important to provide some context about how you know the candidate and why you can provide a valuable recommendation. An example could look like this:

“I am writing to recommend [candidate’s name] for the position of [job title]. I’ve had the pleasure of working with [candidate] for the past five years at [company].”

Overview

This is the section where the candidate’s positive qualities have to shine. It could include a mix of applicable skills andtraits or be strictly focused on accomplishments. Aim to discuss at least three positive qualities that are directly related to the position. It might be helpful to ask for a copy of the job posting from the candidate to accomplish this.

Personal anecdote

Telling a personal story about the candidate should accomplish two things. First, the anecdote should reinforce the positive qualities you’ve outlined in the previous paragraph. Second, it provides an opportunity to write about specific projects or achievements listed on their resume that you may have been involved in.

Closing statement

Conclude your letter with a brief summary of the reasons why you’re recommending the candidate. This might resemble a testimonial, similar to giving your seal of approval on the person you’re recommending. A closing statement could be written as follows:

“After working with [candidate] for the past five years, I can confidently recommend them as a reliable, driven and considerate employee who will be a great fit for [company name].”

Signature

Finish your letter with a signature much like your professional email signature. You should include your name and title, as well as contact information in case someone wants to reach out to you for more details. A phone number, email address and working hours should suffice.

Some things to keep in mind

While composing your letter, consider what traits you find valuable in the person you’re reflecting on. If you were their potential employer, why would you consider hiring them? Were there any moments when they impressed you at work? Genuine personal reflections will stand out compared to canned statements that parrot the job posting.

If you’re still unsure where to start, see our recommendation letter sample below.

Letter of recommendation template

Try using this helpful template to build a solid letter of recommendation.

Dear [contact name],

I am reaching out on behalf of [candidate’s name] to recommend them for the position of [job title]. [Candidate’s pronoun] worked at [company name] as [candidate’s former/current title] and [reported to me/ worked alongside me] in my position of [your job title].

As a [candidate’s former position], their responsibilities included [list of responsibilities]. During the course of their employment, [candidate’s pronoun] proved to be a [positive trait] worker.

When we worked together on [past project/task], I was impressed by [candidate’s name] ability to [candidate strength]. [Candidate’s possessive pronoun] work always reflected [positive trait] and ability to [candidate’s skill]. As a result, they received [award/promotion]. I knew that [candidate’s name] was special because of [relevant anecdote]. [Candidate’s possessive pronoun] work goes above and beyond industry standards.

Overall, [candidate name] is an excellent employee. I’m recommending [candidate’s name] for the position of [job title] because I am confident in [candidate’s possessive pronoun] capabilities. The skills and traits I’ve observed make [candidate’s name] a great fit for [company name].

Sincerely,

[Your name and signature]

Recommendation letter sample

For those who write better by emulating a sample, here is a recommendation letter example for inspiration.

Dear Mr. Jones,

I am thrilled to write on behalf of Parth Chandra to recommend him for your CAD Drafter II position at Pagett Transportation Logistics. Parth has worked at Fathom Worldwide for two years as a Mechanical Drafter alongside me in my position of Mechanical Engineer.

As a Mechanical Drafter, Parth’s primary responsibilities included creating, checking and updating equipment designs. Parth has always had a knack for spotting design deficiencies and the ability to come up with quick, efficient solutions. Working at Fathom Worldwide, Parth has proven to be an adaptable, detail-oriented and dependable member of our team.

While working together on a project for the Navy, I was impressed by Parth’s ability to meet difficult deadlines while maintaining such a high quality of work. His suggested solutions were always elegant and efficient. I knew Parth was special when he spotted a drawing error that had gone undetected by the eyes of several senior engineers. We were thrilled to celebrate the recognition of achievement he received soon after.

Overall, Parth is an intelligent and fastidious employee. I am recommending him for the position of CAD Drafter II because I’m confident in his drafting skills and workmanship. From what I’ve observed, he will make a great employee at Pagett Transportation Logistics.

Sincerely,

Oluchie Ibrahim

Mechanical Engineer

OluchieIbrahim@fathomworldwide.net

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