A recommendation letter is something you write on behalf of someone else. This person could be a former employee, a peer, or a business associate. The goal of the letter is to speak to his or her abilities and background to let a potential employer know the importance of considering this person for the open position. Recommendation letters are important in many fields where competition for open jobs is fierce. They can enable an applicant to stand apart from the crowd.
If you are crafting a recommendation letter, it is essential to do so carefully so as to only report the positives about the person. Your letter could have a big impact on whether this person gets the job, so you need to take the task seriously. A poorly executed letter could hurt the person’s prospects more than help.
One of the best ways to ensure your letter is excellent is to read examples of recommendation letters. Our recommendation letter templates offer insight into the way to write this type of letter. We also provide you with some tips to assist you as you write and help you to ensure you put together a stellar letter.
Recommendation Letter Templates
Letter of Recommendation — Elementary Teacher
Writing a recommendation letter for an elementary teacher requires painting that person as a qualified and excellent educator. Your letter should give insight into how he or she handles a classroom. Take a look at our recommendation letter templates to get an idea of how to craft a strong letter.
A person may use a general recommendation for any position he or she applies to. If you are writing this type of letter, focus on the skills and general attributes that could apply to any field or position. Our recommendation letter templates offer a range of examples of how to do this.
Recommendation Letter for Employee From Manager
An employee or former employee may ask you to write a recommendation letter. This could be for a new job outside of your company or for a promotion within the company. As a manager, you can give proper insight into this person’s work habits and abilities. See our recommendation letter templates for more ideas.
Recommendation Letter for Internship
Writing a recommendation letter for someone who is trying to land an internship requires an awareness of the perimeters of the internship if possible. Try to capitalize on saying things that will make this person sound like a perfect fit. You can see some examples in our recommendation letter templates.
Recommendation Letter Writing Etiquette
1. Keep the audience in mind
A recommendation letter has to be very personal and should speak directly to whoever is reading it. You should always inquire as to whom to address the letter and ensure you understand his or her position. In many cases, you will be writing to a hiring manager. Remember that managers are busy people. If you do not grab their attention right from the start, they may not even read your letter, so be sure to get right to the point. Knowing to whom you are writing will also enable you to use the correct language and speak to the things that person is likely to be most interested in.
2. Provide concrete evidence to back up claims
If you are going to make claims about the person who is the subject of the letter, then you better have evidence to back them up. Empty words won’t do much good. Whoever is reading the letter wants to know exactly why they should hire this person and see proof of those reasons. Be upfront and provide solid evidence that the hiring manager can check and verify.
3. Avoid opinions or use them sparingly
Try not to fill the letter with opinions. You should stick to facts and provable assertions. You can give a couple opinions, but try to do so sparingly. Your opinion alone will not easily convince a hiring manager. To make the letter as strong as possible, stick to facts. You can see how to do this in the recommendation letter templates.
4. Tailor the letter to the job
When someone asks you to write a recommendation letter, try to get some background information about the job he or she is applying to. This will help you to figure out what to include in the letter. You will better be able to tailor your letter to what the hiring manager is most likely to want to hear. Maybe sit down with the person who requested the letter and talk about the position and company. Find out what he or she will do in the role. You want to explain in the letter how this person can do the job for which he or she is applying, and the only way to do that is to understand what the job is.
5. Check for proper grammar and spelling
Always give your letter a read over before sending it out. You want to ensure it is easy to read and contains no spelling or grammar errors. If you can, have someone else read over the letter to be sure your ideas are coming across clearly. The last thing you want to do is confuse the recipient. This would defeat the whole purpose.
6. Be authentic
One of the most important things to keep in mind as you write is that you need to be authentic. If your letter comes across as false, it won’t do any good. It will only make the person reading wonder if you are telling the truth and destroy the credibility of the person for whom you are writing it. Make sure to assess what you want to say before you start so you can make it sound honest and real.
7. Stay positive
Anything negative can defeat the purpose of your message. You want the whole tone of the letter to be positive, focusing on the good things about the person. If you are struggling, then it may be best to step away. Do some brainstorming, and note some good things you can say. Read over the letter after you finish to make sure it keeps an upbeat tone. If you notice anything straying to the negative, then revise it.
8. Introduce yourself and your relationship to the applicant
Make sure you begin the letter by explaining who you are and how you know the applicant. This sets the tone for the whole letter. If the applicant is a former employee, then the person reading will know you are talking from the perspective of a boss, which would be different than if you were writing a letter for a peer or colleague. Do not assume the reader will know who you are. It could be confusing if you don’t introduce yourself first.
9. Personalize it
If you do nothing else when writing this type of letter, then make sure to personalize it. You should not use a form letter or write the same letter for every person that asks. Write each letter with the requestor in mind. Make sure you note personal things and give details that reflect on the person. This is easy to do if you follow the other tips, such as making it personalized and including facts. You want to make it clear you are writing about this specific person and giving information unique to this person.
10. End strong by requesting action
End your letter on a high note by making a direct request for the hiring of the person. Make sure you also offer yourself for a follow-up if need be. Remember you are trying to help someone get a job, so keep that in mind as you close your letter and be forward enough to offer encouragement to the hiring manager to make the right move. Think of it like a sales pitch. As per the golden rule of sales, if you don’t ask for the sale, then you probably won’t get it.