A recommendation letter, also known as a letter of recommendation, a letter of reference, or a reference letter, is a document written by an individual who wishes to vouch for another person’s abilities to perform a specific task or specialty. A letter of recommendation generally provides detailed and supporting information about the subject’s skills, talents, strong qualities, and characteristics.A letter of recommendation is usually provided for employment purposes to serve as a job reference, or it can also be provided for academic purposes for a student who is applying for an educational institution. Hundreds of letter of recommendation forms can be downloaded online; however, it is imperative that you use a form that exudes professionalism to add an edge to your recommendation. Our sample recommendation letters can be tailored to fit your needs and can be easily downloaded to save you from the hassle of having to formulate a letter of your own. You can also view our sample recommendation letters to help you get started on your letter-writing.
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As previously mentioned, letters of recommendation are typically provided for employment purposes or academic purposes, and the content of your letter of recommendation should first and foremost fit into its use or the specific focus that the subject is applying for. For example, if the letter of recommendation is to help a student become a sports scholar in a university, then your letter of recommendation should outline the person’s achievements, talent, or abilities that is related to a sport that he plays as well as his academic performance. Below is a step-by-step guideline to help you draft your letter of recommendation depending on its purpose.Letter of Recommendation for Employment Purposes
A letter of recommendation for employment purposes is a letter meant to help a person in his job application. Letters of recommendation meant to support a person’s work application is usually requested from a former employer, manager, or supervisor. However, this can also be provided by colleagues, clients, or vendors. If you are a person seeking for a person who can provide a letter of recommendation for you, it is important that you carefully choose who that person will be. You have to be certain that the person knows your positive attributes well enough so that he can vouch for you and supply your potential employer with substantial and credible details about your work ethics, characteristics, career goals, achievements, strengths, and skills.
If you are someone who is tasked to write a letter of recommendation for a potential employee, be sure that you know the person well enough before you agree to it. Some countries have imposed laws that allow employers to sue a recommendation letter writer, especially if the contents provided in the letter are proved to be false or fraudulent. Knowing the person well enough to provide a letter of recommendation allows you to provide a glowing letter of recommendation that details the employee’s full potential. If you feel that you do not know the person too well, it might be better to reject the request. Forcing yourself to make a letter of recommendation for someone you do not really know will defeat its purpose because you will not have anything to write about to begin with.
When you are an employer, a manager, or a supervisor, you will more often than not be asked by your employees to write a letter of recommendation for them, especially when they are ready to make big changes or decisions in their career.
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How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for Employment
A recommendation letter for employment purposes is an essential asset to a candidate during the hiring process. Through a recommendation letter, a supervisor, manager, or colleague can vouch for the person’s success in his previous position. Below is a step-by-step process to help you whip up your letter of recommendation:
1. Provide your contact information. A letter of recommendation is a formal letter and should therefore be written in formal format by placing the sender’s address on the top right of the paper, followed by the date below it. The recipient’s name should follow two lines beneath the date, and the recipient’s address beneath that.
The letter should begin with a formal business greeting or salutation. Be sure to use titles and the recipient’s last name instead of his first name. For example, “Dear Ms. Smith,” however, if you do not know the recipient’s name, you can opt to begin with “Dear Sir or Madam.”
2. Start off on a positive note. Begin your letter with a short but enthusiastic tone. Let the company know that you are proud and happy to be recommending someone whom you truly believe in. However, do not make it too long or too flowery. Make it short and concise. For example, you may choose to say, “It makes me extremely honored to recommend Josephine for the position of Marketing Manager at CCC Company.”
3. Define Connections. Let the recipient know how you know the person, how you met them, exactly how you worked together, and your qualifications for recommending the person. For example, “I was Josephine’s mentor and supervisor at CCC’s Sales Department. I trained Josephine ever since her first day at CCC and I have worked with her for nearly four years. Through those times, I can personally say that she has grown and developed her abilities especially in the Sales Department.”
4. Provide supporting details. Provide specific qualifications, supporting details, and examples about the candidate. Describe in clear and vivid detail how the person was able to exhibit or showcase those abilities. This will help the recipient picture out how exactly the candidate matches with the profile for the person that they are looking for. This also serves as evidence to back your story up. For example, “Josephine started out with CCC as a sales agent. I trained her for a period of over 2 months. Back then, the team’s monthly quota was at least 20 closed deals in a month. In a span of 8 months, Josephine was able to hit her target quota for the next 2 years. Because of her passion for the job, her ability to focus on her goal, and her witty skill to socially interact with her clients, I decided to make her a team leader. She has been one of our sale’s team leader for the past 2 years now and has expertly and professionally led her team to aim for the top. Josephine’s team has been consistently the top ranking team in the Sales Department
5. Provide a point of comparison. Make comparisons to measure a candidate’s success rate and to put his accomplishments into perspective. For example, “When Josephine started out at CCC, the going target was at 20 closed deals every month. Since Josephine was still new to her position and it was her first sales account, she was only able to hit an average of 3 to 8 deals in a month. This went on for the next 3 months. During her fourth month, with the help of her colleagues, she was able to familiarize herself with the process of things, her sales then increased to an average of 10-15 closed deals in a month. This went on for about 4 months until she was finally able to hit her target of at least 25-30 closed deals in a month. I can say with confidence that Josephine is passionately driven to conquer the challenges that she faces and to strive hard to succeed.”
6. Indicate areas for improvement. Your letter of recommendation will serve as the recipient’s basis for an employee’s exact performance. Do not just focus on the good but also provide specks of details where the applicant can improve on. This also makes your letter more realistic and believable. You can provide this type of information in a short and not too detailed manner, just enough to inform the reader and to show transparency, but not in a way where the application will be jeopardized. For example, “Although Josephine has to juggle between her work and her post-graduate course, she sometimes comes in late for work but is still able to accomplish her work tasks and responsibilities, apart from having to meet her monthly quotas.”
7. Close the letter with a positive note. End your letter in the same way that you started it. Reiterate your recommendation of the candidate and provide contact details where the recipient can connect with you for follow-up questions. For example, “Josephine is a valued employee in our company and I know that he will be an asset to your team. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me at the number and address provided above.”
8. Use a professional closing. Keep in mind that you are writing a business letter and should also be closed with the use of a business closing such as, “Sincerely,” “Respectfully,” etc.
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Letter of Recommendation for Academic Purposes
Another common type of recommendation letters are those used for academic purposes such as to get into a university, graduate school, or to apply for a scholarship. Letters of recommendation for academic uses are usually provided by teachers, counselors, and other people who have played a huge role in a student’s life and can provide a powerful testament for his academic achievements. If you have been requested to provide a letter of recommendation for a student, you might want to follow the following tips to help you whip up a glowing letter of recommendation:
1. Be privy with the details. If you have agreed to create a letter of recommendation for a student, you should first know where it is meant to be sent to. A letter of recommendation is a formal business letter and needs to be written in business format. You will need to know the recipient’s details such as the address and the name of the recipient for you to furnish your letter properly.
2. Focus on the purpose of the letter. Ask the student for the purpose of the letter. The letter may be used to apply for a college, a graduate school, or to apply for a scholarship. Provide details about the student’s skills and his abilities to succeed in school. Be sure to highlight the abilities that are directly related to the course or the scholarship that he is applying for. For example, if the student is applying for a university to major in psychology, be sure to provide details and supporting details that revolve around the student’s capacity to excel in that particular course.
3. Be familiar with the student. Before you accept a proposal to write a letter of recommendation, be sure you know all the details. If you don’t, then ask for details from him personally such as his relevant coursework. In your letter, you can then explain how many courses the student took with you and how you were able to work with the person and in what capacity, such as a mentor, an adviser, etc.
4. Provide details and supporting details. State the exact details wherein the person was able to demonstrate his skills and abilities. You may mention how the person was awarded in class or was a part of the honor list. Supply example incidents and narrate them in vivid detail.
5. Recommend the person. Your letter should start off by directly recommending the student and then clearly and concisely state as to why the candidate deserves a spot at the university.
6. Provide your contact details. Let the recipient of the letter know that they can reach you for any questions pertaining to the candidate’s application at their school. Be sure to follow the guidelines given by the academy about letter submissions such as file format, font, etc.
A letter of recommendation can achieve a lot of things that can aid in a person’s application. They serve as a form of strong endorsements through praise and pointing out a person’s qualities, it provides further evidence of the person’s qualifications for the job or the scholarship, and it attests to a person’s eligibility for obtaining the position or the scholarship. Letters of recommendation can make or break an application; it is therefore important to draft one that is sincerely, properly, and professionally written. Download our sample letter of recommendation and reference letter now so you can worry about the purpose of the letter and let us worry about the rest.
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