How to write a letter of recommendation

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If you hold any kind of leadership position, you may be asked to write a letter of recommendation. These tips can help anyone - a supervisor, a coach, a volunteer coordinator, a military officer or NCO, a teacher, or leader of any kind - who needs to write a letter. A letter of recommendation is to recommend someone for a job, a leadership position, a scholarship, a college or something similar. You may ask, “How do I write a letter of recommendation?” It's really quite simple and follows an easy format. Read below to see what you should include in a letter of recommendation and use one of our recommendation letter samples or templates to write your own.


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Tips on how to write a letter of recommendation

All recommendation letters follow the same basic template and are can be used as employment reference, or a recommendation for a scholarship, a position, a college or graduate school. Adjust the information to apply to your own letter of recommendation and be sure to spell check!

1. Getting Started

To get started, ask the person you're writing about what they want you to say. Have them give you a resume or a list of accomplishments to work from. It should also include some essentials like their full name, the number of years they have been involved with the organization, how many years you have known each other and an explanation of what the letter of recommendation is for, who it will be addressed to and their address.

2. Addresses and date

In the top right corner, put your name and address.

Skip one line and put the name and address of who you are writing to.

Skip one line and write the date (align right).

3. Salutation or greeting

For a general letter where you don't know who are writing to or a letter that will be used for different people, write "To whom it may concern:". If you know the name of the person you are writing to, write "Dear (Insert title and a name or you can just write their name without the dear. If it is to a specific person but you don't know their name, write "Dear University of ... admissions councilor", "Dear Scholarship selection committee", or "Dear Business Name Human Resources Department". Follow your greeting with a semi-colon or a comma.

4. Opening - Explain who you are

Skip one line and explain who you are. How do you know the person you are recommending and how long have you know them? What is your position and why are you qualified to write a letter of recommendation to recommend that person for a job or a university?

5. Info about recommended candidate

Next in the letter of recommendation you write about what makes the person you are writing about stand out. Sing their praises, but be honest. You can ask others for their opinions to get ideas. Include why you are writing about them. what makes them special? Why are they are good candidate? Why and how are they qualified? What do they bring to the team? Why are you providing a letter of recommendation?

6. Get specific

Include some of the person's accomplishments or specific skills as they relay to the position for which they need a recommendation letter. Ask the person who is requesting the letter for a copy of their resume, for information about what they are applying for and for a detailed list of information they would like included in the letter. They can provide a list of their accomplishments and then you include what you think is necessary. If you feel don't have enough information about them to be able to talk about what they've done or you can't be sure they've really done what they say they have, it might be better to have someone else write the letter of recommendation.

7. Summary

Re-emphasize your most important point and state something to say that you recommend this person. say that you "highly recommend" the person you're writing the letter of recommendation for or something similar.

8. Closing and Signature

In the final paragraph, provide your contact information and an offer to talk with the recipient if they want more information. Include your contact information and at the bottom, your signature with position title underneath.


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