A Recommendation Letter, more commonly known as a Letter of Recommendation, is a type of Reference Letter that is given by one person of authority to another person with the goal to start an activity in a new place of work. It may be a situation when the person is applying for a new job or trying to enter a university or even work as a volunteer.
Although there is no single specific format for the letter, there are commonly accepted norms that collect positive details about the person being recommended in a logical and concise sequence. Naturally, it should be written by someone who knows the applicant well in order to attest to their personality and skills. Ideally, this person is the former superior or professor, or any other individual who knows the applicant from a work-related angle and is well acquainted with their professional history, attitude, and values.
Whether you are looking for new employment, an academic position, or a personal reference, pick one of our Recommendation Letter templates. The template offers a draft with some general background information and a few options to come up with a glowing recommendation.
One basic expectation for the Letter of Recommendation is not to consent to write it unless you can heartily recommend this person for whatever position they are applying for. Do not agree to provide this letter if you are busy, stressed, or short of time and feel you cannot commit to a quality document. Another important rule is to be truthful and accurate in describing the competencies and skills of the applicant.
Begin by stating about your professional background, in what capacity your encounter took place and your relationship to the applicant, how well you know them, when and due to which circumstances you met, what helped you to know this person in a professional setting. Describe the applicant’s best qualities and specify how they fit the desired position. Finally, do mention their weaknesses. Do not forget that different institutions have their own methods of letter delivery. Depending on these requirements print, sign and mail the letter.
The letter must normally cover three major points:
Do not make your letter longer than two pages. At the same time, if you do not put much thought into your presentation you can appear sloppy and your letter will lose its trustworthiness for the reader. Remember, that your letter is contributing to someone else’s future. Do not compromise it by poor work.
A professional reference is typically your former employer, colleague, client, supervisor, teacher, academic advisor, or any other person having first-hand knowledge of your work and can vouch for your qualifications for a job. Do not use your family members as references even if they were indeed your supervisors at work. It is somewhat assumed they will be biased, even if it is not the case.
You write this kind of letter if the institution you are applying for asks you to do so. Write your letter the same way you would write a letter for someone, i.e. introduce yourself by describing your background, speak about your qualities in a positive light, do not forget to mention where you fall short. At the same time, try to make your shortcomings look like strong points, or at least do not present absolute deal-breakers, like competencies limitations.
You may want to mention you are aware of a certain problem, but you are working on it. Give a specific example. Do not dwell on your faults and flaws, however, as a Letter of Recommendation is not about your deficiencies, but about your gifts and skills. The information you provide will shed light on your values and objectives.
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