How to Write a Letter of Recommendation

Follow this guide to write a professional recommendation letter.

  1. Introduction – Your recommendation letter should start with a brief introduction. In the introduction, you should address the reader. If you know the specific company that the employee is applying for, you may address it to the company. In most cases, you will simply put “To Whom It May Concern:” because the reader may be unknown or the employee may be applying for several organizations.
  2. Affiliation – Next you should establish how you are affiliated with the employee. You may be an executive, manager, supervisor or colleague. It is important to include when you met the employee and in what capacity you two worked together.
  3. Personality – After you have established the fact that you can attest to the employee’s personality and skills, you should include a brief paragraph that describes the employee’s work ethic.
  4. Skills – This is the most important paragraph. You are testifying to the fact that the employee is capable of doing the job. You can be generic or include specific key projects that the employee worked on. Be sure to ask the employee what skills should be included that are relevant to the job she is applying to.
  5. Contact Information – Include a way for the reader to get in contact with you if they would like more information.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Writing a Recommendation Letter: 

Be Honest – This should be a no brainer, but it still happens. Dishonestly risks your credibility as well as the chance of the employee getting the job. Include only accuracy information and be sure not to over exaggerate the employee’s skills.

Be Brief – Recruiters often look through several applications per day. They don’t have time to read a 5-page recommendation letter. The letter of recommendation should be no longer than a page, including the header and footer. You may even consider putting the employee’s skills in bold.

Be Positive – If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. You can simply refuse to write a recommendation letter and perhaps refer someone who knows the employee better to write the recommendation.

Get started writing your letter of recommendation by filling in this template.