How to Write a Recommendation Letter | Recommendation Letter Sample

June 26, 2020

Recommendation Letter


“Hi Jim, how are you? Could I ask for a favour? I’m applying for a new role, and would really appreciate it if you could write a letter of recommendation for me.”

John, your former employee, called you to ask if you could help him write a recommendation letter.

Now, you like John. John was an all-star performer when he was in your team.

Of course, you’re more than happy to write him a recommendation!
But how do you write one? What is a letter of recommendation?

Read on to find out! We’ve also created a recommendation letter sample below for you to download and use.

ResumeWriter Tip: Unsure about what to say about the candidate? It might be better to politely decline his request. A letter of recommendation is a significant document! You should write it only if you have genuine and positive comments about the candidate. Not writing a letter is better than writing an inauthentic one.

What is a Letter of Recommendation

A Letter of Recommendation is a formal business letter written by previous employers to endorse a candidate’s job application.

This recommendation letter must be tailored according to a specific role. Embed specific skills and keywords from the job posting into the recommendation letter. Strengths and examples outlined in the letter should tie closely to the job scope.

Some employers request applicants to submit 2-3 recommendation letters as part of the interview process.

This helps them get a better understanding of the candidate’s strengths and performance in previous roles. A recommendation letter also gives employers more insight into the candidate’s previous job scopes.

In most cases, you will submit the recommendation letter directly to the employer. The candidate will not know what you’ve written for him/her.

What is the Difference between a Reference Letter and Recommendation Letter?

A reference letter and recommendation letter serve a similar purpose – to vouch for a candidate’s capabilities, skills and character.

So, how are they different?

A reference letter is more general in nature, providing an overall assessment of the candidate’s strengths and skills. It can be used across multiple job functions and industries. Learn how to ask for a reference letter here.

In contrast, a recommendation letter is often tailored for a specific job opportunity. As such, the letter revolves around work scopes of that particular role.

ResumeWriter Tip: A good recommendation letter should center on your experience with the candidate. It should read like a warm, personalised recount of your experience working with him. Write your recommendation letter from a first-person, rather than third-person voice.

How to Write a Recommendation Letter (Recommendation Letter Format)

Ready to write that recommendation letter?

Great! Let’s dive in.

Before we share our template, we suggest you ask the candidate for four things:

  • CV/Resume
  • Cover Letter for the Role
  • Job Description/Ad
  • Employer’s Email Address

Read through the candidate’s CV and Cover Letter to better understand his strengths, career achievements, and how he had pitched himself for the job. You can also the candidate to share his own thoughts on his strengths and best accomplishments.

Do also scan through the Job Posting to identify the specific skills the employer is looking for in this particular role. These could include softer skills involving negotiation, communication, teamwork, and so on.

This way, you’ll be able to write a recommendation letter that brings out relevant positive traits and aligns closely with the candidate’s career narrative, placing the candidate in a stronger standing for the role.

With that covered, here’s our recommendation letter template:

Introduction

Begin with a brief introduction, stating who you are, and your relationship with the candidate.

Then split your Recommendation Letter into 3 main sections.

1. Overview of Candidate’s Strengths

2. Personal Story

3. Closing Statement

Conclusion

End your recommendation letter off with your name and contact details.

Recommendation Letter Sample

We use this template for our full Recommendation Letter Sample.

Conclusion

Don’t underestimate the importance of a well-written letter of recommendation.

As a former boss, manager, client, and so on who’s vouching for a candidate, your words hold immense power.

Your words could sway hiring decisions and change a candidate’s future.

So, learn how to write a recommendation letter the right way with our templates and samples.

ResumeWriter Tip: Even if you’re not actively job hunting now, spruce up your LinkedIn profile, and have an updated CV and Cover Letter on hand. You won’t be caught off guard when a great career opportunity comes knocking.

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