How To Write A Recommendation Letter
Would you know how to write a recommendation letter if a close friend or family member asked you for one? Writing a recommendation letter may seem like a difficult process because it's important to someone you know. However, it does not have to be a stressful experience because the requestor will appreciate your effort in most cases. If you dread writing recommendation letters, here are some tips to help you compose one.
Things you need to write a recommendation letter:
- Person's resume
- Request a copy of the person's resume, including any past projects and any pertinent information. Ask the requestor for specific points they want you to emphasize when you write the recommendation letter.
- Write your relationship to the requestor at the top of the letter. Be specific and indicate how long you know the individual and in what capacity.
- Find out the guidelines for submitting recommendation letters. If there are any special forms the company or school needs for you to follow, get this information so you can follow them accordingly. Often, the most common requirement for recommendation letters is that you use a sealed envelope with your name and address.
- Think of the requester’s top qualities or skills and provide specific examples to substantiate these qualities. Consider the persons analytical skills, experience level, work ethic, reliability, organizational skills and their ability to adapt to changes when you compose the letter.
- Compare the individual qualifications to others you may have worked with prior. If you were a supervisor of the requestor, quantify their skills in comparison to other employees in the same or equal position. If this employee was 25 percent better than the others, go ahead and write that on the recommendation letter.
- Enclose your contact information so they can contact you later with any questions. You should suggest availability to follow with up any questions later.
Make a copy of the letter before you mail the letter. That way you can have it on file in the event you receive a follow-up call.
Tips & Warnings:
- Although you want to write a positive letter, do not shy away from listing mild criticism if warranted, especially if it is a situation where the individual overcame the problem. When you add someone shortcomings, it does lend itself to be a more sincere letter.
- If the person requesting the recommendation is a co-worker, make sure you are not violating your company policies. Contact your human resources office first to make sure.
- Write short recommendation letter; one page is usually sufficient. If the letter is too long the person reading it may lose interest, but they may frown on a letter that is too short as well. Be honest with yourself when you write the letter—if the requestor's work ethic or morale does not make you feel comfortable with the recommendation, politely decline the request.