Letters of recommendation are typically given to those who are applying for jobs, internships, leadership, or volunteer opportunities. They help an employer gain a better understanding of an individual’s strengths and hopefully validate some of the things that are included in their resume.
If you’re asked to write a letter of recommendation for someone, you should include personalized, honest information about your interactions with them. To assist the person as much as possible, it’s important to craft a quality letter for them. If you’ve never worked directly with the person, don’t have a great understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, or don’t feel you can provide much positive feedback for them, you might want to consider declining their request for a letter of recommendation.
Before you begin writing your letter, ask the person to give you a current copy of their resume along with the job description for the position they’re applying for. These items will come in handy as you decide what to include in your letter. A basic letter of recommendation should have five basic elements, including:
- An Introduction
In this paragraph, you should explain your job title and what kind of relationship you have with this individual. You can also touch on any relevant experience or expertise you have if it relates to the position they are applying to.
- The Applicant’s Strengths
Provide an overview of the person’s strengths and relate them to the position.
- Personal Stories
Include personal stories in your letter that illustrate some of the individual’s best qualities.
- A Conclusion
Conclude your letter by summarizing what you’ve discussed and reiterating why the individual will be a good fit for the job.
- A Signature Line
Include your name and contact information at the bottom of the letter so the employer can follow up with you if they have additional questions about the applicant.
A letter of recommendation can improve a candidate’s chances of getting a job, so remember to keep your letter positive, follow any instructions provided to you, use a letter of recommendation template, and focus on the candidate’s most important qualities to ensure you’re giving them the best letter possible.