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A Letter of Recommendation is a document providing feedback on the professional performance of an individual. It details the capabilities and character traits of a person and vouches for his or her competence, elaborating how he or he is a good fit for the position that he or she is applying for in an organization.
Also called a reference letter or recommendation letter, the document is commonly used in the hiring process as part of the employment verification process. As straightforward as it is, it helps employers better understand the work style and ethics, leadership skills, and expertise of a professional, based on the perspective of the applicant’s previous colleague.
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As a general rule when writing a professional letter, start by creating a heading.
Write your name, your current job title or position, the organization you are affiliated with, and its address. Include the date the letter was written. After the date, write the name of the recipient, his or her job title or position, the organization he or she is affiliated with, and the address.
The introduction paragraph should establish your professional relationship with the person you are recommending. Introduce yourself and the candidate and the length of your professional relationship, Briefly talk about the job position that the candidate is applying for and the purpose of your letter. This part should be concise yet able to capture the attention of the receiver; therefore, keep it engaging and free from unnecessary information.
The body of your recommendation letter should discuss in detail all the relevant skills, qualifications, and accomplishments of the person you are vouching for. Do not merely enumerate points, but provide sufficient instances and successful projects that support your claims. Doing so would assure the reader that you are a credible source who can testify for the applicant’s eligibility.
Cite achievements and skills that you witnessed firsthand when you were working with the applicant. If you worked closely with him or her for a long time and completed several projects successfully, highlight the positive aspects of his or her personality that make him or her a desirable person to work with. Emphasize the value of the applicant as an asset to the company.
All throughout the body, avoid sounding excessively enthusiastic. Keep it positive and warm. Also, the length of this part will vary, but avoid it becoming too long. Once you think you have convinced the reader of the candidate’s qualifications, you may proceed to the last part of the letter.
Wrap up your finals thoughts by reiterating your support for the applicant. Thank the reader for his time reading your letter and invite him or her to contact you if he or she needs to learn more about the applicant.
Some employers may require your contact information. If applicable, provide the best communication method where you can be reached easily.
Lastly, write a closing remark, sign the letter, and write your full name.
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Is a Letter of Recommendation required during application?
A Letter of Recommendation is not required during any application, but it can certainly be helpful. It is a document that may help you provide a personal or professional reference if you need evidence of your competency, skills, and abilities. It can also serve as a reference for your character, providing an insight into your level of integrity and professionalism.
A Letter of Recommendation is often required for certain jobs, such as applying to university or college. It may also be required for other positions in which you are required to demonstrate your work accomplishments and experiences. For example, if you are looking for a promotion, you may need to provide one or more Letters of Recommendation from your current managers.
So if you are looking for work in an educational setting, applying for a scholarship or grant, or need to advance within your organization, it would be helpful to request at least one Letter of Recommendation.
What is a good Letter of Recommendation?
The quality of a Letter of Recommendation will depend on the person you ask and how persuasive your request is. It is more likely to be effective if it comes from someone who knows you well and can provide specific examples of your good work. However, even letters without such strong endorsements might be helpful if they come from people employers trust and respect.
In other words, your Letter of Recommendation will need to have a strong point of connection with the organization you are applying for. In addition, it may need to be from someone qualified to meet certain requirements for a particular position. Therefore, if you happen to know an important person within an organization or field that you would like to work for or be more involved in, it might be a good idea to contact him or her and request a Letter of Recommendation.
Can a Letter of Recommendation be emailed?
Yes, you can email a Letter of Recommendation. It is often more convenient for the person writing or drafting your letter. He or she can type up the letter, save it on the computer, and then attach it to an email that you send.
For a Letter of Recommendation to be considered by an employer or admissions board, you must provide the name and contact information of the person who wrote or drafted your letter. It is also helpful to practice asking that person's permission before giving out his or her details.
Can a Letter of Recommendation be from an employer?
Yes, a Letter of Recommendation can come from your current or former employer.
A Letter of Recommendation should ideally be written by someone who knows you well and is qualified to speak about your work performance and specific skills. Your employment records are considered confidential; therefore, employers cannot provide Letters of Recommendation unless they receive consent from you to do so.
Can a Letter of Recommendation be late?
No, a Letter of Recommendation should be provided on time, preferably a few days before the deadline or by the interview date.
However, it is possible that your Letter of Recommendation might have been lost in the mail or that you did not receive it because you had an incorrect email address listed on your application forms. In such cases, you need not panic. You can always ask the person who wrote your letter to submit it again. Alternatively, you could ask someone else in your organization or another contact in your field to write a Letter of Recommendation on your behalf.
Can a Letter of Recommendation be from anyone?
Yes, you can ask for a Letter of Recommendation from anyone qualified to speak on your behalf. It does not necessarily mean you need to ask for a Letter of recommendation from your relative or anyone you had a relationship with.
If you choose to ask for a recommendation letter from someone who knows you well, make sure that person is someone whose experience and insights will be valuable for your application process. In addition, if your Letter of Recommendation asks for an employment reference from a previous employer, it cannot include any information that may reveal discrimination by the organization or illegal activities. The content of your Letter of Recommendation must make you a stand-out candidate or applicant for the position you are applying for. A Letter of Recommendation can also be from your former colleagues or supervisors.
Most likely, you can ask for a Letter of Recommendation from someone familiar with your work or who has enough knowledge about you. For example, if you are applying for a scholarship in a university, you may request a Recommendation Letter from your former teacher. If you want to work at an organization that offers internship opportunities, try to get a Letter of Recommendation from someone who knows about your interests and ambitions.
Can a Letter of Recommendation be two pages?
Yes, a Letter of Recommendation can be two pages. However, it is best if your Letter of Recommendation is one page, concise, and focused on a few relevant points.
To give you an idea about how long your recommendation letters should be, the average length of a Resume is one to two pages. A Letter of Recommendation should not exceed that span either. You can consider breaking up your Letter of Recommendation into several paragraphs divided by a section break if it is more than two pages long. A letter of recommendation should be easy to read, so make sure your writing is not cluttered with too many details or information overload.
Remember that your Letter of Recommendation should be superior to letters from other applicants applying for the same position. In order to stand out, you need to provide information that is more relevant and accurate than what others have supplied.
How long is a Letter of Recommendation?
A Letter of Recommendation should not exceed one page. It can be longer than one page but the writer should make sure it is concise and information overload free.
How many Letters of Recommendation are required?
Usually, you need to ask for a Letter of Recommendation from three to four different people if you plan on applying for jobs or internships. Like any other part of your application, you need to make sure that you ask for a Letter of Recommendation from the right people and do so in time.
If you seek an entry-level job position, asking for a Letter of Recommendation from previous employers will not be appropriate. Instead, ask for recommendations from professors or instructors who have known you the longest and have graded your academic performance.
When to request a Letter of Recommendation?
You may request a Letter of Recommendation when you start applying for scholarships, jobs, or internships. You use it to confirm or verify your eligibility for the program or position. It is also helpful to ask for a Letter of Recommendation early enough before the deadline date to give your letter writers time to finish writing their recommendation letters.
Who can write a Letter of Recommendation?
In general, a person who can write a Letter of Recommendation for you is someone who understands your qualifications, skills, ethics, work experience, and potential to succeed in the future. It is best to ask someone credible and who can speak from a neutral point of view.
Who to address in a Letter of Recommendation?
A Letter of Recommendation should be addressed to whoever is responsible for hiring, reviewing, or evaluating the applicants. For example, if it is an employment Letter of Recommendation, you can address it to your future manager or contact in charge of recruitment.
Is a Letter of Recommendation good?
Yes, a Letter of Recommendation is good as it helps you effectively and successfully present yourself for a position or prove yourself fit for a job description. Your Letter of Recommendation should be well-informed, honest, and straight to the point.
How do you write a positive Letter of Recommendation?
To write a positive Letter of Recommendation, you need to focus on your strengths and let your letter writer mention how you can contribute to the organization. If you want certain qualities or skills mentioned in a Letter of Recommendation, make sure you emphasize those traits yourself during the application process.
How do you start a recommendation sentence in a Letter of Recommendation?
You can start a recommendation sentence with "I recommend" or "I strongly recommend". Other opening phrases you can try include:
- "I have the pleasure of recommending"
- "It is my pleasure to recommend"
- "I am pleased to recommend"
- "My pleasure in recommending"
- "With great pleasure, I am glad to write"
- "I am happy to recommend"
- "I'm glad to write"
- "I recommend wholeheartedly"
- "It will be my pleasure to recommend"
- "The honor is mine in recommending"
What to say in a Letter of Recommendation?
Your Letter of Recommendation should emphasize your qualifications, training, skills, and experience that specifically match the job description or requirements. It should show that you are the best person for the job and highlight your good qualities.
How do you end a Letter of Recommendation?
You can end a Letter of Recommendation with "I am confident that John Smith is the best candidate for the position. I'm sure he will be an asset in your organization." Other ending phrases include:
- "Please accept my highest recommendation."
- "Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and I hope this letter is helpful in your search."
- "I hope you find this useful when considering John Smith for the role. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions."
- "It has been my pleasure writing this letter in support of John Smith. I greatly appreciate your time and consideration, and wish you all the best in your search."
- "Thank you for your time and consideration."
- "Thank you for the time taken to read this letter. I hope that it is of some help to you in your search."
- "I hope this information is helpful and wish you the best in finding a candidate suited for this position."
What not to say in a Letter of Recommendation?
Do not make statements that are discriminatory, biased, vague, or subjective. You should also avoid leaving negative impressions of yourself. Instead, try to put your best foot forward and focus on the positive points you want your letter writer to address in the Letter of Recommendation. Give an accurate portrayal of yourself without exaggeration or embellishment.
Is there a standard format for writing a Letter of Recommendation?
There is no standard format for writing a Letter of Recommendation, but most letters follow the same general structure. The first paragraph should be an opening that clarifies who you are, why you are qualified to write this letter, and how the recipient knows the candidate.
The Letter of Recommendation should then address how long you have known the candidate, followed by a summary of his or her qualifications and traits. It is typically followed with specific examples that illustrate your points, which are usually backed up by dates, figures, or other concrete information. Close with a final statement of recommendation before ending with an appropriate closing.
Can a Letter of Recommendation be too long?
No, a Letter of Recommendation should not be too long. If the Letter of Recommendation is more than two pages or too long, it will come across as wordy, redundant, and exhausting to read. Make sure you provide only the most vital information and avoid repeating it.
Ideally, a Letter of Recommendation should be between three to five paragraphs with no more than one page. It should briefly and concisely cover the candidate's skills and experience needed for the position.
Does a Letter of Recommendation need a signature?
Yes, a Letter of Recommendation needs the signature of the letter's author. It can be handwritten, printed, or stamped with the letter writer's name.
A signed Letter of Recommendation implies authenticity and accountability. It lets the recipient know that the information and opinions they read are genuine and factual.
However, an unsigned Letter of Recommendation may still be effective as long as the author indicated his or her contact details in the letter for verification purposes.
Can I write my own Letter of Recommendation?
No, you cannot write a Letter of Recommendation for yourself. You should never write a Letter of Recommendation for yourself because it is unethical and unprofessional. The recipient might assume that you are trying to deceive them into thinking you are qualified when you are not, diminishing your own credibility in the process.
Instead, ask someone who knows you well enough that they can give an honest assessment of your skills.
How do you justify a Letter of Recommendation?
You can justify a Letter of Recommendation by providing accurate and clear information about the candidate's qualifications. There should be specific details on why you are qualified to write this letter that will help the recipient better understand who the candidate is and what makes you an expert source.
By including your signature and contact information, you let the recipient know that you stand behind your statements by taking responsibility for them. You can also validate your Letter of Recommendation with statistics, testimonials, and examples related to the candidate's work history.
Are there consequences if you do not provide a Letter of Recommendation?
A Letter of Recommendation is not necessary at all times. Depending on the situation, you may not have to provide a Letter of Recommendation, even when asked.
However, there are consequences if you do not provide a Letter of Recommendation when requested. By failing to complete this document, you leave the candidate with little or no recommendation at all, which will likely discourage the hiring manager from offering him or her the job.
How do you send a recommendation letter via email?
You should send a Letter of Recommendation via email as an attachment if it is a formal letter.
To attach the file to your email:
- Click on the paper clip icon, then select "Choose File."
- In the pop-up window, select the name of the document and click "Open."
- Type an introductory summary of your qualifications and attach it as a new file. Make sure you save your Recommendation Letter often, so you do not lose any of your work.
You can also upload your Letter of Recommendation and paste its link on your email. Either way, you must add a cover letter to make it more professional.
How do you follow up a Letter of Recommendation after no response?
You can ask about the status of your letter by emailing the person who requested it to confirm receipt. In your message, let them know you are still interested in writing a Letter of Recommendation for this candidate and inquire if they have any questions or suggestions.
If they do not respond after several follow-ups, consider sending a formal letter with a more professional impact.
Is a Letter of Recommendation an effective reference letter?
Yes, a genuine Letter of Recommendation is an effective reference letter. However, it does not guarantee that the candidate will obtain the job, scholarship, or position.
You should not rely solely on a Letter of Recommendation. Back it up with an excellent representation of yourself during an interview or profile writing.
Are Reference Letter and Letter of Recommendation the same?
No, Reference Letter and Letter of Recommendation are not the same. However, you can use a Letter of Recommendation as a reference tool if it is written professionally and based on facts.
A Reference Letter generally focuses on the candidate or applicant's character, skills, and knowledge. A Letter of Recommendation is more specific, focusing on the candidate's qualifications for a specific job or scholarship.
Is it advisable to include your contact information in a Letter of Recommendation?
Yes, you should include your contact information if you are writing a Letter of Recommendation. It will allow the recipient to get in touch with you if they have any questions about the recommendation. If you do not include your contact information, it can make the letter invalid.
A Letter of Recommendation is an important document that helps potential employers gauge a candidate's qualifications before hiring him or her for a job. As such, you should always send this document with your contact information if possible to give the candidate the best chance of landing the job or scholarship.
Do I put my personal address on a Letter of Recommendation?
Yes, you may put your personal address on a Letter of Recommendation. In fact, your address must be in the upper left corner of the Letter of Recommendation.
However, if you do not want to include your personal address, you may use your business address instead.
Do employers care about Letters of Recommendation?
Yes, employers care about Letters of Recommendation and sometimes even ask for them. A Letter of Recommendation is a formal document written by a professional who vouches for the candidate. Thus, it can give a better overall impression of the applicant's abilities.
Is a Letter of Recommendation better than a Reference Letter?
It depends on the purpose. A Letter of Recommendation may be better than a Reference Letter if the recipient is seeking employment.
However, a Reference Letter can be better if the employer seeks a candidate with good character rather than someone who will fulfill a specific requirement.
A Reference Letter's personalized information can help an employer or potential employer understand the candidate better, although it may not provide as much information about the candidate's qualifications for a job.
Is it best to email or mail a Letter of Recommendation?
Emailing a Letter of Recommendation is better than mailing it because the recipient can respond more quickly. Ideally, they will respond within two business days if possible.
If you are emailing the letter, do not forget to include your contact information so that you can be reached if necessary.
However, it depends on the employer or recipient's preference.
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