How To Write A Letter Of Recommendation

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Are you a professional, writer, or mentor looking for advice on how to write a letter of recommendation? If the answer is yes, then you have come to the right place! Writing strong letters of recommendation requires thoughtfulness and preparation. In this blog post, we will share best practices around constructing compelling letters that focus on emphasizing accomplishments and promoting future success.

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation

Understanding the Purpose of a Letter of Recommendation

Writing a letter of recommendation is an important task – even if you do it frequently. It requires attention to detail and the ability to communicate about the subject eloquently and persuasively. Before you begin, it’s important to understand the purpose of the letter; it should show why the person applying for a job or program is well-suited for a specific opportunity.

Every piece of information included should reflect positively on the candidate. By doing your due diligence and carefully considering how you craft this document, you can do justice to both your own reputation as a trustworthy reference and help boost their chances of success!

Gathering Necessary Information

Before you jump into writing a letter of recommendation, it is important to prepare by gathering the necessary information. Ask yourself who the recipient of the letter will be, what specific position or purpose the letter will serve, and which individual qualities or professional achievements should be highlighted in your letter.

Additionally, make sure to get a job description if needed and make sure it is reflective of the job for which you are recommending someone. Take time to understand both the potential employer and role so that you can clearly enunciate why this individual would excel in the job or opportunity for which he/she has applied. Brainstorming these details is key before you start putting your thoughts into words.

Preparing to Write the Letter

Writing a great Letter of Recommendation starts with good preparation. Before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!), it’s important to consider the specific purpose of the letter: is it for college admission, a scholarship, or employment? Once you know what type of information is expected in the recommendation, research the institution or organization where the letter is going.

Use that knowledge to make thoughtful recommendations about your candidate supported by evidence in your writing. Take time to get to know the person you are recommending: look over the documents they provide and ask questions if needed. Most importantly, be sure to maintain an ethical standard and only say things you can confidently stand by so that your assessment can be trusted.

Crafting an Opening Paragraph

When writing a letter of recommendation, it is essential to craft an opening paragraph that will catch the attention of your reader.

  • Start by introducing yourself or explaining how you know the person you are recommending.
  • Additionally, explain how long you have known them and in what capacity – these details can help to establish your credibility as an expert on the applicant’s abilities.
  • Describe any characteristics or qualities of the applicant which qualify them for their desired goal in a brief but informative manner.
  • Remember that your opening should be engaging and be written with a conversational tone that adequately conveys your admiration and respect for the individual. Doing so will leave your reader intrigued and ready to read about why this particular person is worth recommending.
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How to Write a Letter of Recommendation: Describing Qualities and Achievements

Writing a letter of recommendation can be intimidating because you are responsible for painting a picture of this person’s achievements, qualifications, and unique qualities. It’s important to ensure that your description includes details that will make the individual stand out from others. You may want to highlight anything notable about their job duties or successes such as innovative problem-solving, leadership skills, and exemplary performance.

Additionally, try to draw from personal stories or moments where the individual demonstrated their competency in the subject matter they are being recommended for. While it is important to focus on their accomplishments, remember to include how you interacted with them to demonstrate positive character traits such as reliability and commitment. Your clearly communicated assessment can make all the difference in helping this person get the opportunity they deserve!

Writing About Character Traits and Professionalism

When writing a letter of recommendation, it is important to provide meaningful, factual insight into the character traits and degree of professionalism of the applicant you are recommending. Examples of professional traits can include competency, innovation, responsibility, creativity, dependability, leadership, communication skills and mentor-ship.

Character traits may relate to personal qualities such as honesty, integrity, motivation and self-discipline. Whether in a professional or academic setting, these two aspects should be carefully presented providing good evidence that the applicant is worthy of recommendation.

Think about what makes them outstanding when articulating their abilities and provide tangible examples of how such abilities have made an impact on the organization for which they have worked or in their studies. Trustworthy letters with detailed information on the character and work performance of the applicant matter if you want your recommendation to make an impression.

Mentioning Specific Examples of Work Performance

When composing a letter of recommendation, it’s important to include specific examples of outstanding work performance. This will help the recipient envision how this individual has provided value in their past endeavors as well as how they may continue to do so in the future. It is especially important to showcase any unique skills or accomplishments that set the individual apart from other candidates for similar positions.

Make sure you note not only the outcome of their efforts but also any strategies or processes used that can be attributed to their talents and capabilities. With concrete examples of success, commentators can provide a more complete picture of why this person deserves the opportunity they are pursuing.

Wrapping Up with a Closing Statement

When wrapping up your letter of recommendation, it’s important to choose the right closing statement. An effective and successful way to end your letter is with a phrase that best expresses your confidence in the individual applying for the position. Something like “I highly recommend [name]” should do the trick.

However, don’t be afraid to get creative; if there are particular pieces of knowledge or skills you want to emphasize, saying something like “[Name] is especially knowledgeable in [specifics]” can also help leave a lasting impression on whoever reads your recommendation. Finally, make sure to sign off appropriately and professionally with your full name and contact information for further inquiries about you or the candidate.

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Proofreading and Editing Your Letter

Proofreading and editing are essential if you want to submit an accurate and effective letter of recommendation. A simple typo could diminish the trustworthiness of your words, so take your time to go through and review your letter for any errors or slips. To make sure that the grammar, tone, and structure of your writing is a cut above the rest, it could be beneficial to run it past someone else for their expertise on the matter.

Furthermore, consider cutting out any adjectives or polite language which could come off as disingenuous. Above all else, focus on expressing sincere appreciation of your candidate clearly and concisely to paint a vivid picture that will capture the attention of readers.

Formatting Tips for Letters of Recommendations

Writing a letter of recommendation can be an intimidating task, but with a few formatting tips you can write a great letter that your colleague or acquaintance will be proud to show off!

  • It’s important to start off strong by clearly identifying the position or award for which the applicant is being recommended.
  • You’ll want to discuss the reasons why you believe the individual is qualified and provide specific examples of accomplishments and admirable qualities they possess.
  • Always be sure to thank the recipient for their time in considering the applicant.

With these guidelines in mind, writing a letter of recommendation can be smooth sailing – leaving you plenty of room to express your sincere enthusiasm for your candidate’s success!

Adding Contact Information

An important step in writing a Letter of Recommendation is including the contact information for the person who’s requesting it. This should always include their full name, address, email, and phone number. Additionally, you’ll want to include a place for them to sign off on the recommendation when it is complete.

Make sure to double-check that all details are accurate; inaccurate or incomplete contact information could prevent the letter from arriving to its intended recipient. Aim for professional yet friendly language that allows each piece of contact information to stand out while keeping the letter unified. It’s also a good idea to proofread your work before submitting it – typos are no-no in a letter of recommendation!

Choosing How to Deliver Your Letter

Writing a good letter of recommendation can be an arduous task, but how it’s delivered can make a big difference. Choosing the right level of formality is a good place to start – when you’re giving someone a reference to support their job application or educational opportunities, you want to come across as professional yet approachable.

In general, the more formal your relationship is with the candidate, the more formal your letter should be. Crafting each sentence carefully so that it sounds natural and stays on-brand for who you are can help in terms of setting the tone.

Also consid,er where you decide to send it – if it’s going straight to an employer, then you may have different needs to sending it via email only. You definitively want the letter to arrive in time and by taking care over this delivering element, it will pay off for both you and the applicant.

Common Mistakes When Writing a Reference Letter

Writing a strong and authentic letter of recommendation is one of the most important tasks when helping a friend, colleague, or subordinate to advance in their career. This document must reflect that individual’s qualities effectively and accurately.

Common mistakes made while writing reference letters include:

  • Failing to adequately describe the candidate’s abilities
  • Omitting points of affirmation
  • Not considering the context in which the letter will be read.

Additionally, it is important to never provide false information or dish out unwarranted praise for the applicant. Crafting a well-written letter of recommendation takes skill and consideration for both the candidate and employer; with careful attention to detail, it can be done impeccably.


Writing a letter of recommendation is an important skill to have, as it can be used in many professional and academic contexts. By following the steps outlined in this article – gathering necessary information, crafting an opening paragraph that captures attention, describing qualities and achievements, mentioning specific examples of work performance, wrapping up with a closing statement, proofreading and editing your letter for accuracy before sending it off – you will be able to create compelling letters of recommendation. Additionally, using formatting tips such as including contact info at the bottom or referring to sample letters of recommendation when uncertain how best to approach writing one yourself are also great strategies for ensuring quality results. With these guidelines in mind, you should feel confident about composing effective letters of recommendation!


What is the purpose of a letter of recommendation?

A letter of recommendation is a document that provides an assessment of someone’s skills and qualifications. It can be written by a supervisor, colleague, teacher or another individual who has worked closely with the applicant in some capacity and wishes to provide support for their potential success.

What information should I include in the letter?

When writing a letter of recommendation, it is important to include key factors such as the person’s character traits and qualities, academic achievements, professional accomplishments and contributions to their field or organization. You may also want to mention specific examples from your experience working with them that showcase these qualities.

How do I start my letter?

The opening paragraph should introduce yourself and explain how you know the person you are recommending. This can include the length of time you’ve known them, your capacity as a supervisor or colleague, or any other relevant information that provides context and establishes credibility.

How do I describe the person’s qualities?

When describing the person’s abilities and achievements, use language that is positive but also specific. For example, instead of saying “She was a great employee” try to provide an example such as “She consistently met deadlines for her projects and exceeded expectations with her level of quality work.”

What should I say in my closing statement?

The closing paragraph should reiterate the key points from your letter and express confidence that the applicant will be successful in their endeavor. You may also want to add a sentence or two expressing your availability for further discussion on the topic.

What other tips should I keep in mind when writing my letter?

When crafting and proofreading your letter, be sure to use proper formatting, spelling and grammar. You should also include contact information so the recipient has the option of following up with you. Additionally, consider the best way to deliver the letter of recommendation (email, physical mail, etc). And, take a look at some sample letters of recommendation for guidance and inspiration.

What are common mistakes to avoid when writing a letter of recommendation?

Common mistakes to avoid when writing a letter include using too much flattery or exaggeration, providing vague language and making overly general statements without supporting evidence. Additionally, be sure to not provide any confidential or sensitive information that could be misinterpreted. Finally, check for typos and other errors before sending the letter off!

By following these steps and using this guide, you should have no problem crafting an effective and personalized letter of recommendation.

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