Recommendation letters—how significant are these really? With our generation’s heavy reliance on social media and the Internet, it is quite tempting to forget the power of writing letters. However, the fact remains that writing recommendation letters is extremely helpful when applying for a job, a scholarship, or for university admissions.
At some point in your life, you may have been approached by a colleague, a previous employee, or even by your neighbor to write a good recommendation letter on their behalf.
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As taxing as this task may seem, you must consider it as a great honor as it is a testament to the high regard and trust that those people have bestowed upon you. Indeed, not just about anyone can write a recommendation letter since not everyone has the capacity and authority to do so. That is why, if you have agreed to write a recommendation letter, then you must be careful in approaching this task with all the seriousness and careful thought that it deserves.
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If you are new to this undertaking or if you want to improve the quality of your recommendation letter, we have the right templates for you! On this page, we provide you with several recommendation letters that can guide you on how to write a strong and effective one.
Sample Strong Recommendation Letter
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What Is a Strong Recommendation Letter?
When writing a recommendation letter, it is always helpful to keep in mind that other applicants are also well-equipped with recommendation letters that are forged using succinct and powerful language. So that you may know that you are on the right path in your recommendation letter-writing, it would do you a great deal of advantage in knowing the characteristics of a strong recommendation letter.
Below are the notable characteristics of a strong recommendation letter:
- Attention-grabbing: A good recommendation letter must be able to capture the attention of the hiring manager immediately. It must not drone on and on about unnecessary details of information for that would surely lead your letter to take a premature trip towards the trash bin. The key to writing an attention-grabbing recommendation letter is by aligning its content to suit the needs and requirements of the company or institution to which it is to be sent. You must make careful research on the background of a company so that you may know which of the applicant’s qualities you need to highlight on the first sentences of your letter. Remember that hiring managers rarely have the patience to go through all recommendation letters diligently. At most, they would merely scan these letters in order to select only those that are worthy of a full-reading.
- Enlightens: So, you have captured the attention of the hiring manager or the administrator perusing your letter. What’s next? You must not remain satisfied with the capturing element of your recommendation letter, you must also strive to keep their attention trained on the contents of your letter by keeping them interested on the applicant you are recommending. You may do this by stating in convincing language the positive qualities you can attest that the applicant possesses. You have to make sure that these qualities are being portrayed in a way that is delectable to the eyes of the reader. In other words, you have to know the nature of the entity you are writing to so that you would know for sure that the manner you are presenting the applicant’s positive qualities suits the gradation of priorities they place upon the myriad of commendable attributes that your applicant has.
- Establishes Credibility: One thing that most recommenders fail to take off is the convincing factor of their letter. Some recommendation letters may fail to sway the mind of the reader even though it is beautifully written and the characteristics of the applicant are well-expounded. The reason for this is due to the fact that there is not enough evidence provided that can support the claims being made by the person recommending. A strong recommendation lettter narrates profoundly the instances when the person recommended has displayed the skills and characteristics being enumerated in the recommendation letter.
- Open to Future Inquiries: When you have successfully convinced the letter-recipient to view the applicant in a positive light, it is likely that they would want to gain more precise accounts of the applicant’s qualities. That is why it is best that you expressly state in your recommendation letter your willingness to entertain further inquiries regarding the applicant. It is not enough that you would state your willingness but more so, you have to incorporate a tone in your letter that reverberates of your openness for questions.
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Importance of a Strong Recommendation Letter
Now you might be wondering about the emphasis on writing a strong recommendation letter. Indeed, why not write an adequate recommendation letter that lists down all the positive qualities of the applicant that you can recall off the top of your head? The answer lies in the importance of precision. When you are precise in writing your letter, this enables you to address all the essential aspects that must be given due consideration. Precision mixed with a firm command of language leads to your letter’s strength and effectivity.
The points below further explicate the numerous benefits of writing a strong recommendation letter:
- School Admissions. It can help students take one step closer to their dreams by allowing them to study the courses that they desire at a university that they prefer. A strong recommendation letter can influence the decision of the school admissions officers. The admissions officers of a university usually examine all the academic documents of a student-applicant. As it is normal that some students may not have an excellent GPA or may have mediocre academic standing, a good academic recommendation letter from a previous professor or teacher can definitely help boost their chances of getting accepted into the program they are applying for.
- Job Applications. Fresh graduates are familiar with the mild trepidation that they feel upon sending their first job application documents; and rightly so, since most fresh graduates’ resumes are devoid of actual job history. That would rarely play to their advantage. Most of the times, hiring managers would place greater value on job applicants who are well-experienced in the field they are applying in. This is why a strong recommendation letter can present a strong argument in favor of the applicant’s strengths by mentioning their academic achievements, extracurricular achievements, and other areas of their personalities that are noteworthy.
- Scholarships. Entities that are accustomed to giving out scholarship grants to deserving students are very picky when it comes to creating their final list of scholars. That is why, students who want to avail scholarships would have better chances at receiving them when they are able to send a recommendation letter that strongly attests to their reliability, self-sufficiency, and academic abilities.
Sample Professional Recommendation Letter
Sample Academic Job Recommendation Letter
Sample Scholarship Recommendation Letter
Key Steps in Writing a Good Recommendation Letter
Follow these guidelines in writing a good recommendation letter:
- Research. This is an essential step that must not be skipped. You must first ask your applicant to send copies of the application documents that they have sent or are planning to send to the person examining it.
- Write the basics. Start your letter by writing the return address which comprises of your complete name and your complete address. Then write another heading block for the name, position title, and address of your letter-recipient.
- Write the salutation. Make sure that you address your recipient with their full names or surnames. Don’t forget to check that you are addressing them using their proper titles (e.g., Ms., Mr., Mrs., Dr., Atty.)
- Write the body of your letter. Start your letter by introducing yourself and your intention to recommend a certain person. Explain briefly how you have come to know the applicant and what your relationship is with him/her. After that, write a paragraph that is dedicated to the enumeration of all the attributes which corresponds to the requirements of the job or course that the applicant is applying for. Cite instances that support your claims.
- Close it in a polite tone. Write a polite remark then don’t forget to sign off your name.
- Format it properly. Observe the proper format of writing recommendation letters. For more information on the proper layout of recommendation letters, download our templates on this page.
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