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How to Write a Letter of Recommendation

Updated on Mar 25, 2021 7115 views
How to Write a Letter of Recommendation

Have you ever applied for any opening or been selected for a position that required you to present a letter of recommendation from a school teacher/lecturer/professor, a notable person and/or a former employer?

Well, you are not alone. Whether you are admission, contending for a scholarship or a job opening, you would have lots of competition. A well-written letter of recommendation is what can and would boost your chances of being chosen above other candidates.

This post would cover everything you need to know about recommendation letters, including the various types that exist, how to approach a person for one, how to write one and so on.


What is a Letter of Recommendation?

A letter of recommendation or a recommendation letter is a document where the author describes and corroborates the qualities, skills, character traits, and general quality of the person being recommended. The letter of recommendation could be for is going after a job position, internship/industrial attachment, school application, authority position or volunteer chance.

The reason for requesting for a recommendation letter is to approve what the organization/institution has found out about the candidate and find solutions to extraordinary inquiries concerning their conduct. They are most commonly used in the hiring process as part of the employment verification step where they are called an employment reference or job reference.

Types of Recommendation Letters

There are three types of recommendation letters. They are academic letters of recommendation, employment letters of recommendation, and character letters of recommendation.

  1. Academic Letters of Recommendation

Academic letters of suggestion are, by definition, used by (prospective) students of academic institutions. Academic letters of recommendation are usually presented by students during the admission process. During this period, most schools—undergrad and graduate the same—hope to see at any rate one, ideally a few, recommendation letters for every candidate.

Recommendation letters give entrance advisory boards data that could conceivably be found in a school application, including scholastic and work accomplishments, character references, and individual subtleties. Grant and cooperation programs typically request letters of recommendation, too.

  1. Employment Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation for work and career are a significant apparatus of people who are attempting to find another line of work. Suggestions can be put on a website, sent in with a resume, provided when a candidate is offered employment (the standard procedure), utilized as a major aspect of a portfolio, or distributed during business interviews. Most managers request from job seekers for in any event three profession references. Subsequently, it is smart for you as a job seeker to have, at the very least, three recommendations letters close by.

By and large, business recommendation letters incorporate data about business history, work execution, hard working attitude, and individual achievements. The letters are normally composed by previous (or current businesses) or an immediate manager. While your former colleagues should be decent enough for approval, it is not as attractive or as weighty as that from bosses or managers.

  1. Character Letters of Recommendation

Character letters of recommendation are frequently utilized for accommodation deeds, legal issues, child and pet adoption, and other circumstances where understanding and attesting an individual's character is significant. Nearly everybody needs this kind of recommendation letter eventually in their life.

These recommendation letters are frequently composed by previous managers, landowners, business partners, neighbors, specialists, colleagues, and so forth. It is not a one size fits all situation, though. The most suitable individual recommending your person relies upon what the letter of recommendation will be utilized for.

How to Ask for a Recommendation Letter

If you want people to substantiate your behavior, character traits, qualifications and so on, it is important that you be friendly with them or have an established relationship prior to you approaching them for a recommendation. It would be painfully out-of-place for you to walk up to someone that you are not even acquainted with for a letter of recommendation.

Also, you should never wait till it’s the dying minute before asking for a recommendation letter. This is because you need to give the author considerable time to craft the letter. You also have to be certain the person is a position to write it and knows about your work/academics and can put it writing.

Here are the ways to ask people to recommend you:

  1. Simply ask them

One saying that rings true to this is ‘closed mouths don’t get fed’. Casually approaching someone for a recommendation letter might appear odd or difficult, even – if you suffer from some form of anxiety, but it is the easiest and arguably the most effective way to secure your letter.

Be polite when broaching the topic ; as opposed to saying 'sorry' or steering clear of the real issue, pose the request directly, taking note of the reason for which you need the letter and the cutoff time for submission.

  1. Bring up the main content of the letter

You should know that a person writing you a recommendation letter is doing you is a favour, and as a result, you should be prepared to supplement the process. Suggest what the content of the letter should be, how it should be written, who or what organization the letter should be addressed to and so on.

  1. Offer to write it yourself

To piggyback number 2, you may even offer to write the letter yourself. The person is most likely occupied with something else; offering to draft the letter yourself is the reasonable option, given that they are not under any oath to oblige your request.

Note that this is not a leeway for you to forge a recommendation letter. So, you can draw up one or two drafts, then forward it to the person and have them append their signature/details and additional input (if needed).

If you are on the person writing a recommendation letter, think properly before accepting the request. Only say ‘yes’ if you can genuinely consign that person. It is totally okay for you not to recommend a person if you cannot stand by your words.  

Letter of Recommendation Template 

The template below can be followed when writing a letter of recommendation. It is functional for employment, academic and character recommendation letters.


To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to strongly recommend [Recommended Person’s Name] for [Position With Company or Acceptance to Institution].

I am [Your Name], a [Your Position] at [Your Institution or Organization]. I have [Number] years of experience working in [Your Industry or Academic Focus] and I have been privileged to work with many young students/professionals. [Recommended Person’s Name] stands out among their peers.

I have known [Recommended Person’s Name] for/since [Number of Years/ Time You Met] and [Recommended Person’s Name] has displayed great talents in [Skill, Trait, Experience, Class, etc.]. Right from the onset, I have been fascinated by [Recommended Person’s Name] intelligence and willingness to learn, but during the time I taught them/we worked together, her knowledge of [Key Area] easily set her apart from her peers.

[Elucidate Key Skills, Traits, Knowledge, and Experience here with a Personal Story].

[Recommended Person’s Name] impacted the team positively. They were a great team player and their hard-working nature, positive outlook, dedication [List Other Positive Traits].

Based on these experiences, I can strongly recommend [Recommended Person’s Name]. They would be a great fit for your [Institution/Organization]. Not only do their skills and experiences fit your organization’s need, but they will also be an asset and help contribute to the growth of [Institution/Organization].

Feel free to contact me [Contact Information] if you need additional information. Understandably, this letter only gives a brief summary of their skills, talents and achievements. I would be glad to provide further elucidate.


[Your Name and Title + Signature]

Here is an example using this template below:

September 30, 2020

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to strongly recommend Jessica Jacob for the position of a content writer at Genuine Limited.

I am John James the Chief Operating Officer at Cairo International. I have 18 years of experience working in the corporate world and administration and I have been privileged to work with many young students/professionals. Jessica Jacob stands out among their peers.

I have known Jessica Jacob for 4 years and Jessica Jacob has displayed great talents in content writing, editing, designing, collaboration and her interpersonal skills are top notch. Right from the onset, I have been fascinated by Jessica Jacob’s intelligence and willingness to learn, but during the time we worked together, her knowledge of digitization easily set her apart from her peers.

In particular, Jessica Jacob can be credited for Cairo International’s dominant online presence. She carefully created and curated content for our website and social media accounts. Her contributions led to Cairo International’s website ranking as the 75th most visited website in the country.

Jessica Jacob impacted the team positively. She was a great team player and her hard-working nature, positive outlook on life, dedication, commitment and timeliness.

Based on these experiences, I can strongly recommend Jessica Jacob. She would be a great fit for Genuine Limited. Not only do her skills and experiences fit your organization’s need, but they will also be an asset and help contribute to the growth of Genuine Limited.

Feel free to contact me if you need additional information. Understandably, this letter only gives a brief summary of their skills, talents and achievements. I would be glad to provide further elucidate.


John James

Chief Operating Officer

Cairo International

Note: While this template can be followed for any type of recommendation letter, it is important you make suitable adjustments if and where necessary.

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Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

1 Comment(s)

  • Albert still
    Albert still Oct 02, 2023

    This article is fantastic and I got some good information by reading this. 


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