Writing a Recommendation Letter (with Samples) Use these sample recommendation letters as templates for your formal recommendation letter. Last updated on January 16th, 2019
A recommendation letter can be sent for many reasons. The most common reasons are to help someone get a job or other position, a background check or for a personal reference. A person may request a letter of recommendation from a former employer, a direct supervisor or a friend.
The letter should focus on the specific purpose. The person writing the letter should know as much as possible about the position that he or she is recommending. This way the letter can be tailored to suit the needs of both parties.
Write a Honest Letter
If the person recommending doesn’t personally know the person for whom he or she is writing the letter, they should spend some time with that person. They should familiarize themselves with the work and qualities of the person who asked for a recommendation. If it's impossible to write a honest and enthusiast letter, it is better to tell the requester that they should find someone else. The person should not write a half-hearted recommendation. The sender should request a copy of all the information required for them to write an accurate letter. This may include the requester’s resume, list of completed projects, personal qualifications and a list of points the requester would like the letter to emphasize. If an employee is requesting a letter from their own supervisor or human resources person, the person should make sure they are following their company’s policy for sending letters of recommendation.
Some of the personal characteristics to include are:
Level of experience
Ability to work with others
It may not be a good idea to put their reputation on the line by recommending someone with whom the person is unfamiliar. In most cases, only someone who knows a candidate will write a letter of recommendation. The letter should cover all the necessary points and be specific.
A minor criticism can be included if it shows a positive outcome. The candidate may have overcome a personal shortcoming. It should also follow regular business letter style to be a professional communication.
The most important things to include in the recommendation letter are:
Specific examples of the abilities of the candidate not vague references
Compare the candidate’s abilities to others in the field if they are superior
Plausible facts and not give expectations that are too high to meet. Exaggeration is not a good idea.
The letter needs to have substance and not look like a quick note but should be on one page.
Use active voice whenever possible
Give a strong recommendation at the close of the letter
The person who receives the letter needs to be impressed enough to want to employ the person recommended, but they shouldn’t feel that the letter is overdone and probably false. It’s important to emphasize the qualities that the receiving company or place of business values.
Here are samples of a recommendation letter. It should be sent by certified mail, so the sender has proof of the time and date the letter was received. If there are any enclosures such as a recent work evaluation, it should be a copy and not an original document.
Sample 1 - Recommendation Letter Sender’s Name Sender’s Address City, State, Zip Code
Receiver’s Name Receiver’s Address City, State, Zip Code
Dear Name of Receiver,
I am writing this letter to give the highest possible recommendation for Name of Person, for the position of energy-efficiency project manager for your company. I was Name of Person’s supervisor for the past three years in the field of setting up recycling systems for small businesses and large corporations, so I know her capabilities. She is the hardest working and most enthusiastic team member I have ever had.
Name of Person was always planning ahead and anticipating problems in a variety of situations. Several times she was able to innovate solutions and impressed our clients with the systems our team created. She also reduced the energy consumption by 20 percent for a shoe manufacturing company by suggesting they upgrade some of their machines. In fact, she was the leader in finding solutions on every job we did this past year.
She is very even tempered and rarely gets upset or angry. On several occasions, she was the mediator when the team disagreed, and she brought everyone to a satisfactory solution. I have been her supervisor for the entire time she was working for our company and have watched her develop leadership qualities and gain a deep understanding of the business. I have no hesitation in recommending her for the energy-efficiency project manager in your company, and believe she will be a great asset for you.
If you have any questions or would like more information, I can be reached at 555-123-4567 or at [email protected]
Sincerely, Sender’s Signature Sender’s Name Printed
Sample 2 - Recommendation Letter Name of Recommender Name of Company if Applicable Position in Company if Applicable Address of Company or Recommender City, State, Zip Code
Name of Employer Name of Company if Applicable Address of Company if Applicable or of Employer City, State, Zip Code
Dear Name of Employer:
This letter is a formal recommendation of Name of Candidate who currently works in the Research and Development department for a promotion to Project Manager for the waste management section of Name of Company. I have been the head of Research and Development for 10 years, and have personally worked with Name of Candidate for five years.
Name of Candidate has done extensive research and development of waste management for the five years she has worked for Name of Company and implemented several recycling programs that have saved the company money.
Name of Candidate knows the field of waste management and has researched all of the avenues for recycling and reusing Name of Company’s industrial waste. All of the office waste including plastic water bottles is recycled, and the company has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a non-pollutant for plastic and paper products.
Name of Candidate has led two teams that researched Name of Company’s waste production and the options for environmentally friendly solutions for management. She inspired the team and maintained a high-level enthusiasm for each project.
Name of Candidate is a volunteer for the local school district to teach the importance of waste management to young children.
For the above reasons as well as other reasons that I can discuss with you, I believe Name of Candidate is worthy of a promotion to Project Manager for the section of waste management. I can be reached at Phone Number and Email Address if you have any questions.
Sincerely, Signature of Recommender Printed Name of Recommender
Sample 3 - Recommendation Letter Name of Sender Address of Sender City, State, Zip Code
Name of Scholarship Address of Selection Committee City, State, Zip Code
RE: Recommendation of Name of Student for Name of Scholarship for English Literature Students
This letter is a formal recommendation of Name of Student for the Name of Scholarship for English Literature Students. I have taught English to Name of Student for the past three years, and she was an enthusiastic learner throughout. I consider her to be one of my two best students in my 15 years of teaching English at Name of School.
She has excelled in both grammar and literature, and I believe she will be and exemplary student in this field. I worked closely with her while she headed the Book Club discussions that covered the themes and characters of a wide variety of books.
Name of Student has not only worked hard at school, she has also been financially responsible for her education. She works part-time jobs to pay for tuition and textbooks. While excelling in language studies, she has also become captain of the Chess Club and has mentored her juniors in playing chess as well as speaking English. She also takes time each week to tutor students in English as a Second Language.
I highly recommend Name of Student for your scholarship because I strongly believe she will make her college, teachers and the scholarship committee proud, if she is given this chance.
I can be reached at Phone Number or as Email Address if you have any questions about Name of Student. Thank you for considering her candidacy.