Although skills, educational attainment, and other qualifications are necessary, an extra push is always welcomed. When you are applying for something, say a scholarship or for employment, a recommendation letter is a good boost to your morale and chances of getting in.
A good recommendation letter from a reliable and credible reference person can have a great impact to your application.
As mentioned, a recommendation letter can affect one’s chances of having a successful application. It can greatly impact the decision of the council/committee or employer especially when the letter is well written by a credible reference person. To help make sure your recommendation letter is effective, here are essential elements it should have:
If you have been requested by a former student or employee to write him/her a recommendation letter, you must try to be more objective than subjective. It is best to give an objective assessment of how the candidate is like as a student or employee; there can be consequences to your credibility if you write false contents on your recommendation letter. To help make sure you write an objectively effective recommendation letter, here is a short guide for the writing process:
1. Use formal letter format:
Since a recommendation letter is a type of formal business letter, you should follow the standard format. This means you need to include a complete return address, date and complete inside address, as well as the salutation. Depending on the structure you decide to use, the placements of the aforementioned should immediately follow.
2. Open with enthusiastic praise for the candidate:
After the salutation, you should immediately open your letter with an enthusiastic praise for the candidate. In a short paragraph, let the reader know you have confidence in the capabilities, knowledge, and skills of the candidate. However, remember to be realistic and sincere; avoid dramatizing the introduction.
3. Explain how you know the candidate:
You should also give the reader context as to why you are qualified to give recommendation for the candidate. Explain how you have knowledge about the candidate’s qualifications and skills. Explain to the reader how you met the candidate, where and when you worked together, along with a short statement about your qualifications.
4. Specifically mention the candidate’s qualifications:
When writing a recommendation letter, it is important to be specific. Thus, it is important to mention the specific qualifications of the candidate that you think is important for the reader to know. It is better to showcase his/her qualifications by using examples or instances the candidate has done significant actions. Avoid describing the qualifications with generalities.
5. Illustrate candidate’s success:
In order for the reader to be even more convinced with the candidate’s qualifications, it is best to illustrate his/her success through realistic examples. You can do this by including numbers, if applicable, including comparisons, and so on. This will help you put the candidate’s qualifications into perspective and help the reader understand why you are recommending him/her.
6. Show candidate’s versatility:
Although the candidate has his/her strengths, he/she also has weaknesses. In this case, you should show the candidate’s versatility and flexibility in accomplishing tasks despite difficult circumstances. You should definitely showcase his/her perseverance to push through despite adversities. Setting them on a pedestal will set them with expectations that are impossible to achieve.
7. Close the letter affirmatively:
As you close your letter, make sure you affirm of the statements you have included. It is best to express your recommendation for the candidate literally. For example, you can say, “I highly recommend candidate’s name to be a part of your company or institution.” In addition, you should provide an invitation for discussion should it be needed.
8. Finish letter with a signature block:
Just like any letter, finish off the letter with a signature block. Your signature block should consist of your complimentary close and signature line. The signature line includes your name, designation/title and/or contact information. It is important to affix your signature on the letter to ensure legitimacy.
A recommendation letter is not difficult to write as you may think. If you have had personal experience working with the candidate, it will surely be easy for you to provide information about the candidate that will help boost his/her application. With this, it is important to ensure you write cohesively and effectively. To help with that, here are some tips in writing a good recommendation letter:
As you know, a recommendation letter can vouch for a candidate’s qualifications. It helps in increasing the candidate’s chances for approval. Furthermore, a well-written recommendation letter can help a candidate stand out from the other applicants. To help you identify what recommendation letter is appropriate to write for different instances, here is a list of the types of recommendation letter:
A recommendation letter is commonly used for professional purpose; thus, it is still considered as a type of a formal letter/business letter. In connection to this, a recommendation letter should written in a standard 8.5” × 11” sized paper.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about recommendation letters:
Depending on when or where it will be used, a recommendation letter may be needed by students applying for internship, scholarship, or high school students applying for college, people applying for a job, and people who want to amp up their application.
In general, recommendation letters allow employers or council/committee members to understand who the applicant is as a person. It also helps ensure that a credible person can support the content of the candidate’s cover letter and resume or CV.
In order to formally ask a reference person to write you a recommendation letter, you need to send a letter of request. The letter should contain a formal and courteous request for a recommendation letter along with the necessary information or details that should be included.