Letter of Recommendation: How to Write + Samples and Templates (2023)


  1. Examples of letters of recommendation from students, faculty and professors
  2. Examples of letters of recommendation for employment
  3. What is a letter of recommendation?
  4. letter of recommendation format
  5. Important steps before you start writing
  6. How to write a letter of recommendation
  7. How to request a letter of recommendation

Examples of letters of recommendation from students, faculty and professors

Need to write a letter of recommendation for a student or professor? The following examples show how to write an excellent letter of recommendation for a student applying for a scholarship or an undergraduate or graduate program. In addition, we have included a sample letter of recommendation for a teacher applying for a new position.

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Examples of letters of recommendation for employment

If you're looking for an employee recommendation letter, we've got you covered with our template below. If you're providing a reference for a colleague, we also have templates for a letter of recommendation for a colleague or friend, as well as a LinkedIn letter of recommendation for your professional acquaintance.

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Click here to view all job-related templates

What is a letter of recommendation?

A letter of recommendation (or reference letter) is a document in which you certify the qualifications, experience, and commitment of a colleague, student, or friend to help you get the job you want.

There are different types of recommendation letters, but the three most common are written for job applications, college applications, and character references.

When do you need a letter of recommendation?

Here are situations when you may need a letter of recommendation and who to contact:

1. You are applying for a university, degree or scholarship

Almost all colleges and scholarship programs require a minimumtwo letters of recommendationas part of the application process. Ideally, these certificates should be written by former professors or professors who are familiar with your academic achievements and skills.

Admissions officers and scholarship organizations want to better understand who students are as individuals before making a decision about admissions or scholarship awards.

Letters of recommendation provide a credible outside perspective and help clarify qualities that are difficult to convey fully in a resume and personal essay.

2. You apply for positions that require meaningful references

For most applicationsWrite a cover letterÖletter of interestalong with your resume is more than enough. However, certain industries or companies may require a letter of recommendation that goes beyond these basic elements.

Teachers and medical assistants are two examples of jobs that often require a written reference as part of the application.

Generally, the most compelling reference letters will be thesewritten by a supervisor. In cases where this is not possible (or undesirable), a recommendation from a colleague who knows your work is also acceptable.

3. You want to improve your application

If you think your resume and cover letter aren't particularly convincing, a letter of recommendation can give your candidacy the extra boost it needs to land a job.

Adding a letter of recommendation to your application can be especially helpful if you have little or no work experience. In situations like these, a personal reference from a friend or teacher can make a world of difference when looking for a job.

On the other hand, if you are applying for a particularly competitive position, a meaningful reference from a previous employer is more advantageous.

However, you must wait until an employer asks you for a reference before submitting a letter of recommendation. In general, you should never containReferences in the CVbecause employers are only interested in seeing them later in the hiring process.

letter of recommendation format

Now that we know what a letter of recommendation is and who needs it, let's take a closer lookhow to format a recommendation letter, as well as the best site structure and fonts for a professional look.

Format guide for letters of recommendation

No matter who it's intended for, including these eight essential sections in your letter will ensure you pull out all the stops necessary to make a compelling recommendation.

Letter of Recommendation: How to Write + Samples and Templates (9)

1. Contact Information

Your name, address, and contact information should appear in a header at the top of the page. Alternatively, you can place this information above the date in the top left corner of the page.

(Video) Productivity Tutorial - Writing a letter of recommendation

Below the header to the left should be the current date, followed by the recipient's name, title, company/school name, and address.

2. Greeting

As with any letter, the first line should address the person or group of people you are addressing by name and title. Avoid vague greetings like "To whom it May concern' unless you have no other options available.

Check out the first step of ourGuide to writing letters of recommendationfor a more detailed explanation of how to create the perfect greeting.

3. Opening paragraph

Begin by expressing your sincere recommendation of the candidate, then explain who you are, your relationship with the person you are recommending, and how long you have known them.

4. Candidate Performance

The second paragraph should describe the applicant's relevant academic or professional strengths. Include a specific, detailed example or two that demonstrates these strengths.

5. Personal qualities and characteristics of the candidate

The third paragraph deals with personality. Provide details of the candidate's positive personality traits, using examples that clearly show them.

6. Declaration of withdrawal of the candidate (optional)

This optional section is only used when writing letters of recommendation for employment. It should also only be included in cases where the reason for the candidate's departure from the previous or current company is neutral or positive, e.g. B. a change of residence for family reasons or overcoming opportunities in the previous company.

7. Final Paragraph

Repeat your sincere recommendation of the candidate and encourage the reader to reach out to you if they have any questions.

8. Company

End your letter of recommendation on a professional note by writing "Best regards" and then your name below it. If you are submitting a hard copy, please leave space to sign in ink for an extra personal touch.

Format rules for letters of recommendation

While the most important part of your letter is the content, the appearance of the page still requires some consideration. Font alignment, margins, size, and style can affect reader impressions.

The following simple guidelines will ensure your letter of recommendation looks professional:

  1. Do not exceed the length of one sideunless the additional paragraphs and details you include legitimately reinforce your recommendation. That being said, anything longer than two pages is definitely too much.
  2. Use a 12 point fontto maximize readability and economy of space. Using a font size of 11 to keep the length of a page is acceptable, but should be avoided if possible. Anything below 11 points is too small.
  3. Stick to basic font stylessuch as Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica and Garamond. Avoid overly stylistic fonts that can affect readability.
  4. 1"–1½" is the sweet spot for margins. You can go a little over or under these limits to fit everything on one page, but it's best to avoid anything over the top.
  5. Maintain a left alignmentacross the page to ensure a clean look.

Important steps before you start writing a letter of recommendation

Before you start writing your cover letter, there are a few things you should do to ensure your cover letter is as compelling as possible.

Request information from the applicant

Ask the applicant for a copy of their resume, cover letter, personal essay, or any other document they are submitting as part of their application. Please read them carefully and avoid repeating information mentioned unless it is particularly important.

It's a good idea to ask the candidate to tell you something about the position they are applying for and if there are any specific points or examples from their work that they would like to mention, so that you can get your letter out as soon as possible . relevant and specific as possible.

Conduct your own search

Find out about the company, university, or scholarship the candidate desires and personalize your cover letter to meet their needs. When writing a letter of recommendation for an application, reading the job description is a good way to get an idea of ​​what details should be emphasized.

Think about the type of letter you are writing.

Depending on the type of recommendation letter you write, the tone and content will vary. As a manager, if you are writing to an employee, the tone will be much more formal and the letter will contain many details about the candidate's professional accomplishments.

On the other end of the spectrum, a friend's character reference will be written in a looser tone, focusing more on a person's personal strengths and traits.

Before writing your letter, think about the tone you should use and the details you want to emphasize. This gives your letter of recommendation the best chance of making a positive first impression.

How to write a letter of recommendation

Now that we have all the details sorted out, it is time to write your letter. By following these steps, you can create a compelling cover letter that is sure to be an important part of your recommended resume.

1. Add a title for a letter of recommendation

The title that appears at the top of your letter of recommendation should include your name and contact information. Not only does it look more professional, but it gives the employer or institution a convenient way to contact you if they need more information.

The title of a letter of recommendation should look like this:

Letter of Recommendation: How to Write + Samples and Templates (10)

2. Use a polite and personal greeting

The way you greet someone when you first meet them has a huge impact on their impression of you. The way you address someone in a letter is no different. Therefore, it is important that you start your letter properly with a polite and personal salutation.


A proper greeting should be structured as follows:

Estimate + position + recipient's name

The title will vary depending on the person you are writing for. For example, when addressing a hiring manager, use generic salutations such as Mr., Mrs., or Max.

Example 1:

Dear [Mr./Ms./Mx.] [Last name of Human Resources Manager],

On the other hand, if you are writing for a professor or doctorate, you should use the job title, such as Dr. or use masters.

Example 2:

Dear Professor [last name of teacher],

Ideally, the applicant requesting the letter should provide the name of the person to whom the letter is addressed. If not, a quick search on LinkedIn or the company/university website should yield some results.

What should I do if I don't know the recipient's name?

Even if you don't know the recipient's name, make your greeting as personal as possible. That means avoiding weak openings that don't try to speak directly to the reader.

For example, avoid using "To whom it May concern' when addressing the addressee.

Instead, do the following:

Dear [recipient title],

For example, if you are writing to the admissions dean of a university whose name you do not know, type "Dear Admissions Dean“. On the other hand, if you are writing to a company's hiring manager, write "Dear Head of Human Resources“.

How do I address a letter to a group of people or an organization?

If you are addressing a group of people, such as such as an admissions committee or board of directors, you should follow the principles outlined above. The only difference is that the recipient title must be replaced with the name of the group or organization.

Here is the exact formula:

Dear [name of group or organization],

Here are some specific examples to give you a better idea of ​​how to address your letter:

  • Dear Admissions Committee
  • Dear Board of Directors
  • Caro Rhodes Trust

3. Start your introduction with a bang

The first sentence of your recommendation is arguably the most important as it sets the tone for the entire letter. The best openers are those who immediately give the candidate a sincere and enthusiastic recommendation.

Here are some useful phrases you can useWrite a strong first sentence:

  • Happy to recommend...
  • It is my pleasure and honor...
  • Couldn't be happier...
  • I have absolutely no qualms recommending it...
  • I recommend it…

In comparison, a generic sentence that lacks enthusiasm, like "I am writing about the recommendation for…' is shallow and unconvincing.

4. Build your relationship

The rest of your introductory paragraph should be devoted to describing who you are and what you areRelationship to applicant. This is an essential step as it establishes the relevance of your writing.

If you have known the candidate for a long time and are able to assess their strengths well, your cover letter will have a greater impact. When building your relationship, you must provide the following information:

  • Your job title and company/school
  • The role in which you know the candidate
  • How long have you known the candidate?

By providing these details at the beginning of your letter, the reader will understand the context and strength of your recommendation.

5. Give words of praise

End your introduction with a sentence or two that highlights some of the candidate's qualities.StrengthenÖpersonality traits.

(Video) How To Write An Professional Reference Letter For University Admission & Scholarships

The following examples will give you an idea of ​​how you might write yours:

  • During that time, I have seen Amelia grow into an extraordinary person who excels in both her academic and personal pursuits.
  • Gregory has always been an exceptional member of our team and has always impressed me with his professionalism and admirable qualities as a person.

Don't go into too much detail. The purpose of these sentences is to complete the introductory paragraph while also serving as a preview of the content of your letter.

6. Demonstrate the candidate's professional/academic strengths

Your first main paragraph should begin by mentioning 2-3 of the candidate's specific skills, talents, or experiences that are relevant to the job or college program being sought.

It is important that these points are accompanied by detailed and illustrative examples of the candidate's performance that demonstrate these skills.

Note the difference between the following two sample reference letters for a project manager:

Without disclosures:

  • Andrea is excellent at project management.

Concrete and detailed:

  • Andrea's deep understanding of Scrum methodologies helped increase the number of projects completed on time and on budget by 23%.

The second example is not only much more appealing, but also showcases a career accomplishment that shows what skills the candidate may bring to a new role.

If possible, include interesting anecdotes about the candidate that demonstrate the strengths and skills you describe. This creates a more personal tone that makes the reader feel like they aremeet applicants— one of the main aspects of a strong letter of recommendation.

7. Highlight the candidate's personal qualities

The next main section should focus on two or three of the candidate's positive personality traits and qualities, particularly those that are advantageous or desirable for the desired position.

One of the main reasons universities and certain companies request letters of recommendation is that they want to gain a more holistic understanding of the candidate. Merely mentioning the candidate's academic or professional accomplishments is not enough to create a compelling cover letter.

Include insteadimportantmiconcrete examplesor anecdotes about the person that highlight their best qualities. Let's look at some examples:

Here is an example with no supporting information:

  • Joyce is a selfless and compassionate person.

Now here is an example with concrete and detailed support examples:

  • As a member of Habitat for Humanity, Joyce demonstrated her compassion and selfless nature by providing valuable mentorship to more than 20 underprivileged children.

If you're struggling to convincingly describe a candidate's personality, here is a table of some of the best personal traits to include in a recommendation letter:


Just make sure the candidate has the personal qualities you mention with specific, detailed examples.

8. Encourage the reader to accept the candidate

Begin the last paragraph by repeating your enthusiastic recommendation of the candidate.

Use strong, authoritative, and confident language when writing this sentence. Look at the following examples:

  • I am confident that Jon will be a formidable member of his college community.
  • I have no doubt that Allison will quickly become an invaluable asset to your team.
  • I strongly believe that Matthew will be an excellent addition to the graduate program in theoretical physics at the University of Virginia.

Finally, encourage the reader to contact you if they have any questions about the candidate.

9. End the session politely

The conclusion of your letter should be formal and polite. Use one of the following signatures when closing your letter of recommendation:

  • Carefully,
  • Compliment,
  • Your,

Sincerely, it is considered the best sign of farewell because it is not only undeniably polite but also has a warm and friendly tone. In cases where the ending consists of more than one word, only the first letter of the first word should be capitalized.

How to request a letter of recommendation

Asking for a letter of recommendation can seem like a daunting task, especially when you're not sure the person will take it. This guide will show you how to properly request a letter of reference and who needs to request it and when.

(Video) Letters of Recommendation: Strategies for asking & drafting PLUS samples

When should I order one?

You should only request letters of recommendation if an application specifically requires one, or if you feel your application would not exist without one.

The following are examples of when letters of reference are necessary or helpful:

  • Application to the university
  • Application for postgraduate studies
  • apply for a scholarship
  • Applying for a position that a
  • Applying for an entry-level job with little or no work experience
  • Apply to be a teacher
  • Apply to work in a volunteer organization

Whom should I ask?

In general, you should ask someone who you are on good terms with and who can speak accurately about your strengths from a position of authority.

However, the best person to ask for a recommendation depends on what you're asking.

6 tips on how to request a letter of recommendation

How you ask for a letter of recommendation can mean the difference between a person saying yes or no. These six tips will help you request a letter of recommendation in a way that makes it difficult to refuse.

1. Ask in person

Whenever possible, always ask for a recommendation in person. The person you are asking will appreciate that you took the time to appeal personally and face to face.

2. Explain your situation

Don't ask directly for a recommendation. Start by explaining exactly what you're asking about so they understand why you're asking in the first place.

3. Use polite language

Use indirect language to ensure your tone is as polite as possible when asking someone for a recommendation, even if you know them very well.

For example, don't say: "Hey, can you write me a letter of recommendation?

Instead say: "I wanted to ask you if you could write me a letter of recommendation.

This is by far the most important tip, so pay extra attention to it. In almost all cases, education is the most important factor in convincing someone to accept your request.

4. Give them an excuse to say no.

If the person you are asking is unwilling or unable to write you a letter, always accompany your request with an explanation that allows you to easily decline it. Don't put them in an awkward position where they have to say no outright.

Example: "If you're too busy with other tasks to write it down, I completely understand."

5. Emphasize why you are asking

Explain why you specifically chose to ask for their recommendation. This often helps convince them to accept your request, even if they are busy.

Example: „I understand that you may not have the time, but having taught me for 2 years and knowing my work, I believe that no one is better qualified to write my letter of recommendation than you.

6. Express your gratitude:

Tell them how grateful you would be if they took the time to write your letter. However, don't give them the impression that you expect approval.

Example: „I would really appreciate it if you could write me a letter of recommendation, but if you can't, I totally understand.

How to order by email (with template)

If you are in a situation where you cannot request a personal recommendation, please write an email request. Just follow the same guidelines outlined in the previous section.

If you're still not sure, we've created a professional template for writing an email recommendation letter below. Just copy and paste the template and fill in your own details.

What information do I need to provide to the person writing my letter?

Once your writer has accepted your application, you need to provide as much useful information as possible. This not only makes it more convenient for your writer, but also ensures that they are writing for you.best letter of recommendationpossible.

(Video) How to Write a Teaching Recommendation Letter - Template & Examples for Colleagues & Students

Here is some information you need to provide:

  • Your resume and cover letter
  • Your letter of motivation (if you are applying to a university as a student)
  • The name of your target university or company.
  • A link to your job description or program
  • Personal strengths or qualities you want to focus on
  • Special successes that you would like to mention to us


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