Tips for Writing a Letter of Recommendation - dummies

Tips for Writing a Letter of Recommendation

Managers and co-workers sometimes write reference letters (or recommendation letter or letter of recommendation) for job-hunting colleagues. In the letter of recommendation, the reference giver should verify the individual’s experience, affirm their competence, and add credibility.

A strong reference letter typically does some combination of the following:

  • Introduces the recommender, explaining the recommender’s basis of knowledge for the reference

  • Confirms dates and job title(s)

  • Identifies competencies, skills, and other qualifications that make the individual an ideal candidate for a potential employer

  • Describes performance and attitude

  • Highlights one or more exceptional qualities with an example

Following is an excerpt of a letter of recommendation that highlights an exceptional quality of the job seeker:

Jane was able to develop her assertiveness skills under my supervision. When she first came into the department as a payroll clerk, she was not as assertive as was necessary in dealing with the other departments when they were late submitting time cards and payroll information. After taking an assertiveness course and developing great self-confidence, Jane was able to develop her conflict resolution skills and she was promoted twice in the accounting department before leaving the company to take a manager’s position elsewhere. I highly recommend her for her willingness to work on areas in which she needed improvement.

The above example — plainspoken and warmly sincere — praises a quality of interest to all employers: a willing worker who takes steps to improve job performance.