Select Page

It shows a great amount of respect when an applicant asks a former employer or colleague for a letter of recommendation. Unfortunately, with so much pressure to help an applicant, it can be difficult to know exactly what to write. You can follow these tips to write a glowing letter of recommendation. Being asked to write such a letter is a great honor, but may be daunting. Start with these steps.

Assessing Whether to Write

Those qualified to write a letter of recommendation know the applicant well enough to give examples about their work. A strong letter requires familiarity with the applicant, time, and dedication. Human resources might also have instructions for writing such letters. If a referee cannot make the commitment or provide a positive letter, they should decline.

Documents for Writing

In order to write a strong letter, the referee needs as much information as possible. A copy of the job posting shows the exact skills and keywords that referees need to tailor the recommendation letter. An up-to-date CV gives the writer necessary background information.

Introductory Paragraph

The introduction of a letter of recommendation introduces the referee and explains the relationship between the referee and the applicant. This section establishes the authority of the referee by including the current job title and any extraordinary competencies. In this paragraph, referees indicate the length of time they have known the applicant and the specific capacity.

Body Paragraphs

The body of a letter of recommendation focuses on the strengths the applicant brings to the position based on the keywords in the job posting. Then, the referee develops specific examples to accompany each highlighted strength. A longer example, such as one particular team project, can elucidate multiple strengths, but it should be clear how the example fits with each keyword.

Ending the Letter Strong

The end of a strong letter of recommendation places emphasis on future projects. Including a statement on suspected success at the job reiterates the position of the referee. The contact information of the referee also goes at the end in case an employer has additional questions.

These tips for writing a strong letter of recommendation help referees know the best way to support a candidature. Although letter writing is a stressful and time-consuming task, it is also rewarding to be a part of someone else’s success.