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How to write a letter of recommendation

Published: Monday 28th September 2020

You may have come across an opportunity where an employee, colleague, acquaintance, or friend may request you to write them a letter of recommendation. When you are in a senior position or part of an organization, you are in the position to be able to help someone increase their prospects of getting hired. Some jobs are reference based only openings, and at such times knowing how to write a letter of recommendation will help you draft one promptly to send to the concerned authorities or hiring team.

Male recruiters surprised by work achievements or experience in letter of recommendation of female job applicant during interview,

In this blog, we will show you how to write a letter of recommendation and tips related to recommending candidates. To know more, read on!

What to consider before writing a letter of recommendation for someone 

  • Use careful consideration before saying yes: The main question to ask yourself before agreeing to write a letter of recommendation for someone is whether you know them personally, have you seen them working, and if you are the correct person to give a recommendation. When you recommend a candidate, it also shows your stance. If you are not comfortable giving a recommendation without reservations, politely decline.
  • Use the business letter format for a recommendation: A letter of recommendation is always to be written in a business format and formal language. Since it is a professional letter where you are at a position to make someone’s career, choose your words appropriately while keeping the tone cool yet optimistic.
  • Stick to the job description at hand: If you know the job description and position you are recommending the candidate for, stick to the specific traits and characteristics of that job profile. Your aim as an endorser is to write a letter of recommendation displaying the competence of the candidate for the job at hand, so use the keywords that apply to a professional in that position for the best results.
  • Concentrate on one or two qualities of the candidate: Focus on explaining one or two qualities of your endorsee and what makes him the best for this job. By bringing your experience working with them (if you have) or a general observation of the person will be a great way to show the hiring party what potential you see in them. You can talk about traits such as their dedication towards their job, their work ethic, conceptual knowledge, or their perfection in technical aspects to start with.
  • Keep the tone positive: A letter of recommendation is meant to emphasize on the qualities of the candidate and why they are the right person for the job. Keep the overall tone of the letter optimistic while showing confidence in the ability and work of the person you are endorsing.
  • Don’t forget to share your contact information: Once you have drafted the letter of recommendation, do not forget to add in your contact details in case the hiring company or the organization involved wants to reach out to you for verification purposes. This will also help prove the credibility of your recommendation while letting them know you are open to answer questions about the candidate yourself.
  • Stick to the submission guidelines: Whether it is a format type, a certain date and deadline required to send in the letter of recommendation, ask the candidate to tell you the prerequisites of what needs to be included and what may have to be skipped (if any). If your endorsee needs you to send the letter of recommendation in PDF format with a digital signature, make sure you do it correctly and send it on the deadline given.
  • Let the candidate know: Once you have drafted, signed, and sent the letter of recommendation to the concerned party, inform the candidate that you have sent your recommendation. 

Format of a letter of recommendation

These 5 simple points of the layout of a letter of recommendation will help you understand exactly how to place the content while doing justice to the letter. 

  • Heading: Includes the date, receiver’s name, address, and subject in formal format.
  • Salutation: A formal greeting to the concerned party.
  • Paragraph 1: Introduction that includes a brief about who you are and how you know the endorsee.
  • Paragraph 2: Qualities of the endorsee you are recommending, including personal observations and professional traits.
  • Summary of recommendation: A roundup of the overall character approval of the candidate and why you think they make a great fit for the job.
  • Conclusion: End the letter with a business conclusion with thanks and sincerity. Do not forget to add your credentials and signature at the end.

We hope that these letter of recommendation tips help you draft the perfect one for your endorsee. For more tips on mentorship and resume building hacks, visit our job seeker blogs!


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