Master Writing A Convincing Letter Of Recommendation Template
Being able to know how to make the right letter of recommendation template could prove to be life altering for someone.
It could be difficult to tell when a person could become an instrument to someone’s success through a simple yet powerful letter from that person. A person’s letter of recommendation for someone may lead, for instance, to acceptance to a renowned university or employment to one’s dream career.
As someone holding a position in a certain company or as a faculty in a reputable learning institution, one may never know when he/she will need to write a letter of recommendation. The day may come and one should be ready for it.
Be able to learn the format and to identify what should be included in a letter of recommendation template through this article.
A letter of recommendation is a formal letter composed to attest and specify someone’s potential as a candidate or eligibility for something.
For some people out there, they would call it “letter of rec,” “rec letter,” or simply “rec,” with “rec” being short for “recommendation.” Sounds cool for today’s generation, perhaps.
Also referred to as a reference letter, a letter of recommendation enumerates and details what makes an individual qualify for a certain educational or professional endeavor. It’s generally a positive letter, or else, the person who got asked to write a letter of recommendation should have declined in the first place.
The person who either offered to write a letter of recommendation or received a request to make one should truthfully and accurately do it. A recommendation letter serves as one’s personal vouch for someone; therefore, it will say a lot about the credibility and sincerity of the one who wrote it.
As for the one who requested for a letter of recommendation, he/she should consistently live up to whatever has been said about him/her.
Yes, there’s pressure involved in a letter of recommendation, both on the part of the writer and, even more so, on the one receiving recommendation.
The chief purpose of a letter of recommendation is to endorse someone by establishing that person’s character, abilities, and potential through facts and personal testimonies.
One doesn’t write a recommendation letter to not recommend someone. Well, if one extremely despises someone, he/she might go to great lengths to send a letter that simply wants to say: “Don’t accept <insert someone’s name>.” That could be a scene in a daytime soap, but in real life, though it could happen, it’s something not worth recommending to do.
That is not ideally what a letter of recommendation is meant for. It aims to build someone’s reputation. A recommendation letter intends to guarantee that someone is capable of meeting whatever expectations the recipient of the letter hopes for.
More specifically, a letter of recommendation is used for the following purposes:
for a promotion opportunity
to gain employment—Even if not currently hiring, a letter of recommendation – when given by someone of enormous authority or influence – can prod a company to absorb someone.
to get hired—Aside from a résumé and sometimes a cover letter, a recommendation letter can further support one’s application.
for professional advancement
to increase chances of getting accepted in a college/university
In her 2014 Forbes article, Lisa Quast, a former executive at a Fortune 500 company, wrote that a letter of recommendation serves as a source of “additional evidence.” For what? For the skills and other abilities mentioned by applicants in their résumés and cover letters.
Knowing the right letter of recommendation template will help achieve the letter’s purpose.
Apart from the expected academic grades and one’s scores in standardized tests (ACT, SAT), schools may require at least one letter of recommendation.
A letter of recommendation highly matters for certain schools.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons, Ed.D., at Harvard University confirmed this in his 2009 article for The New York Times. It’s not only for Harvard, he shared, but as well as for those schools “with selective admissions processes.”
Fitzsimmons, who still currently holds the said position, wrote that recommendation letters “are extremely important,” particularly those coming from high school counselors and teachers. He emphasized how Harvard reviews each letter of recommendation “with great care.”
Other American schools, aside from Harvard, that ask for a letter of recommendation, according to his article, include:
University of Virginia
University of Pennsylvania, a.k.a. Penn
Princeton University (New Jersey)
Stanford University (California)
Georgetown University (Washington)
Duke University (North Carolina)
Speaking for Harvard, Fitzsimmons wrote that the university looks for in a letter of recommendation specific information that will show an applicant’s:
“love of learning”
“personal qualities”—character, leadership
Lisa Quast, in the same Forbes article, mentioned how a letter of recommendation was obligatory back in the ‘90s.
Times have changed indeed and in this 21st century, as Quast observed, submitting a recommendation letter “is considered optional” in the corporate world.
Quast, now a Seattle-based career coach, talked to recruiters to know what employers look for in a letter of recommendation.
Like her, the recruiters wanted a letter of recommendation that will give them “a variety of perspectives” when considering an applicant.
Quast noted that she and the recruiters she consulted with wanted an applicant to provide no less than three recommendation letters.
Those recommendation letters should come from these particular people:
two from former immediate superiors
one from the applicant’s former coworker
If the applicant happens to hold a management position in his/her previous work, a recommendation letter “from a direct report” should be provided, according to Quast.
In her case – she was once a hiring manager – Quast favored more than one letter of recommendation to create “a better overall picture” of the applicant.
An ideal letter of recommendation template should therefore consider including information that will paint a general positive picture of the applicant.
To anyone out there who needs a letter of recommendation, below are useful guidelines.
It is important to ask for a letter of recommendation basically because it’s entirely different when it’s other people who will talk positively about you.
One can make all sorts of claims about one’s self, and such claims can be verified via report cards, transcript of records, other documents, etc. Still, when it's other people who do the praising and vouching, it makes one more credible.
In addition – and this one is really simple – certain schools and companies require a letter of recommendation. It’s part of the application process; so, better provide one. In some cases, it could even be more than one.
A high school graduate can get into college without a letter of recommendation because not all colleges and universities require one.
Perhaps one reason why schools forgo a letter of recommendation is the overwhelming volume of annual applicants they entertain. Consider the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Ricardo Vazquez, UCLA’s media relations director, reported via the school’s website that in the fall of 2019, UCLA received an astonishing 135,000 applications. Applications were both from freshmen applicants and transferring students. Imagine reading 135,000 recommendation letters! UCLA, though, stated on its website that it “do[es] not require or accept letters of recommendation.”
Once can get a letter of recommendation from anyone as long as that person is the appropriate one.
One can also hope that the person who will give them one knows the right letter of recommendation template.
Long-time Harvard admission head William R. Fitzsimmons and executive-turned-career coach Lisa Quast already mentioned the specific people one should be asking for recommendation letters.
For students, it should be one’s former teachers and the school’s counselors. In the corporate world, it should include a couple of former bosses and a coworker.
In the name of integrity, avoid asking the following people for a letter of recommendation:
your spouse or long-time partner or boy/girlfriend
certain school or company (even if they are a family friend)
politicians and/or other people who wield extensive influence over a
family members—parents, siblings, grandparents in-laws and other relatives
One should get a letter of recommendation from someone whom he/she once shared a strong academic and/or professional relationship with, who can objectively make recommendations.
When you give a letter of recommendation, make certain that the people you requested for it will have ample time to write one.
Remember fully well these two important things:
You are merely asking them for a favor—It appears to be an honor to be approached for recommendations, but they’re not obligated to say yes.
These people are busy people; therefore, respect their time—For one, teachers are already swamped with tons of paperwork. Those professionals who hold managerial positions may have tight schedules.
Once you know the deadline for the submission of a recommendation letter, plan when you will make the request.
For those asking for a letter of recommendation from teachers, Seattle Pacific University (SPU) in Washington recommends “at least three weeks in advance.” SPU even advises to give them “a month or more,” as long as you don't miss the deadline.
As for a letter of recommendation from someone where you worked for, international job search website Indeed suggests “no less than two weeks.”
If you happen to receive a request to write a letter of recommendation template, there are things you need to do before and after saying yes.
Before saying yes:
Start drafting that letter of recommendation at a convenient time, such as when you are not tired from work. It’s not enough that one knows the right letter of recommendation template. One should also gather information about the person who requested the letter and about its recipient (school or company).
Ask the person the name of the school or company asking for the letter of recommendation—Research online about the school’s mission-vision or company objectives. Knowing them can guide you on what to say about the person you will be recommending.
Ask the person what relevant information he/she (or the letter’s recipient) expects to read in the letter of recommendation. While doing so, interview the person to refresh your memory about him/her.
Is there a prescribed length or number of words?
How about the format?
Is there a particular form given?
Ask for any instruction given by the school or company regarding the recommendation letter.
Ask the person when he/she expects to receive the letter of recommendation.
How’s my work load and schedule?—Do I have the time to accommodate such a request? After saying yes:
Do I have any reservation in recommending the person?
Do I earnestly believe the person is worth my recommendation letter?
Ask yourself first if you are the right person to provide someone with a letter of recommendation before making a commitment—How much do I know about the person?
To anyone who will write a letter of recommendation template, Boston-based uConnect, an online career center, offers the following advice:
The letter of recommendation template should include the following information about the person: academic or work-related performance and achievements mention specific papers authored/co-written and/or projects spearheaded or were actively part of recognitions or awards received the person’s potential for growth in a particular field or area of expertise specific abilities (e.g., intellectual, verbal, organizational, etc.) and set of hard and soft skills character and personality Note: Always support your claim (e.g., claim of the person’s excellent communication skills) with specific details. For example: “Mr. Howard undoubtedly possesses excellent communication skills. The articles he wrote for the company’s bi-monthly newsletter reflect his writing prowess, impeccable grammar, and eye for details. In addition, his oral reports and hosting tasks during company events always proved how superb he is as a speaker and presenter. Before his time with us, some of Mr. Howard’s works appeared in leading magazines, including Time, The New Yorker, and Reader’s Digest.” After considering the aforementioned things and one finally decides to commence with the letter, follow the eight steps below when writing a letter of recommendation template:
Write without any exaggeration, prejudice, and speculation. No lies. The tone of writing must be professional.
The recommendation letter should be structured like an essay. It should have a: Introduction Body Conclusion All in all, a letter of recommendation template should be composed of 4-5 paragraphs.
Use words that are “strong” and “vivid.”—One must be both creative and persuasive, reminds uConnect.
Step 1: Write the complete date when you decide to make the letter.
Step 2: Write the heading. Formats vary but a letter of recommendation template could appear like the one below:
To: (recipient), (if applicable, job title or designation), (name of school or company) From: (name of the one writing the letter of recommendation), (job title), (school/company name) Re: Letter of Recommendation for (complete name of the one who requested for it)
Step 3: Write the Salutation. Dear (insert recipient’s surname) preceded by an appropriate prefix (Mr., Ms., Mrs., Prof., Dr.) and followed by a comma (,). Steps 1-3 could be like these two examples: October 30, 2021 To: Hope University Department of Business Administration, Admissions Committee From: Mrs. Grace O. Stephens School Counselor, Knottsville High Re: Letter of Recommendation for Mr. Andrew S. Smith Dear Admissions Committee, xxxxxxxxxx October 30, 2021 To: Ms. Linda G. Young HR Head, Silver Lining Telecommunications From: Mr. Benjamin N. White Operations Manager, Horizon Telecoms Re: Letter of Recommendation for Ms. Dorothy Y. Campbell Dear Ms. Young, xxxxxxxxxx
Step 4: Write the introduction.
First and foremost, tell (this will be the first 2-3 lines): how you and the person you are recommending met the specific academic or professional relationship you shared with the person The next line is to tell that you are recommending the person. The next line is to tell that you are recommending the person.
Step 5: Compose the Body (this will be the “meat,” so to speak, in any letter of recommendation template). In the first paragraph:
discuss what strengths and potentials you further see in the person that makes him/her worthy of your recommendation
talk about the person’s character and other traits that will mark him/her as an individual with generally good standing and disposition In the succeeding paragraph:
narrate specific incidents, events, projects, or situations where such abilities where clearly demonstrated In the second paragraph:
tell about the person’s intellectual capabilities and other competencies, particularly those that are aligned or relevant to the course or position he/she is applying for
Step 6: Make the Conclusion. Confirm once more that you are recommending the person, and explicitly say how much you do. For example, you may use the following phrases:
“I believe I will do your school/company a favor if I recommend…”
“I have no doubts in recommending…”
“Without any reservation, I recommend…”
“I definitely/earnestly/strongly recommend…”
Step 7: Proceed with the Closing Remarks. The part of a recommendation letter template where you tell the school that they can contact you. They may have questions or clarifications or want to talk more about the person you recommended to them. Then follow it by saying:
“Thank you very much for your time.”
“Thank you very much.”
Step 8: Sign-off. You may use any of these letter closings:
“Kind regards,” Note: When signing off, include your contact information (telephone/mobile number and/or email address) below your name and job title.
Below is a format by Indeed for a letter of recommendation template:
Below is a sample letter of recommendation template for a student who wishes to pursue B.A. in History and American Studies.
October 30, 2021
To: Hayworth College
From: Mr. William J. Baker, Ph.D.
History Teacher, Atlantic City High School
Re: Letter of Recommendation for Ms. Emma G. Wright
Dear Admissions Department,
It is with much pleasure that I am making this letter of recommendation for Ms. Emma G. Wright, who was my student in World History for S.Y. 2020-2021 at Atlantic City High School and former two-time president of the school’s History Club, to which I was the adviser. I believe Emma will significantly contribute to Hayworth College’s overall success.
For her final high school year, Emma consistently found herself to be an honor student. In my class alone, she would make it among the top three passers in my major exams. I would always look forward to her active participation in class, where she would either challenge me with thought-provoking questions or provide insightful answers to my delight. During group work, her classmates would always choose her as their leader, and her leadership skills extended beyond the classroom. She was, in my 8-year stay with ACHS, the only student who got voted twice as president of the History Club. She organized several successful events, one of which was the “Turn Back the Pages of Time,” which, in a nutshell, encouraged students to visit the library and read books about history in general. The school librarians personally thanked me for the number of students that frequented the library because of that project initiated by Emma. It is now a permanent project of the club, a legacy Emma left behind.
I would also like to add that Emma’s cheery disposition in life, her ready smile, and her genuine willingness to help her classmates understand something about history, make her even more admirable as a young individual. I am personally grateful to Emma for all the hard work and dedication she put in making the History Club win “Best Innovative Club” for two successive academic years during her time as president.
For her scholastic achievements and laudable contributions to the club as well as for her great personality and other wonderful things that I couldn’t anymore emphasize further in this letter, I strongly recommend Emma for admission in your distinguished college.
If you wish to talk more about Emma, you may reach me at the numbers I indicated below.
Thank you very much.
Mr. William J. Baker, Ph.D.
History Teacher, Atlantic City High School
School: (609) 257-8797 (between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.)
Personal: (609) 534-4114
Now here is a sample letter of recommendation template for an employee applying as a Social Media Specialist.
October 30, 2021
To: Mr. Oliver K. Thompson
HR Manager, Nature and Beyond Travels
From: Mrs. Victoria I. Clark
Marketing Supervisor, Aurora Productions
Re: Letter of Recommendation for Mr. Noah M. Hill
Dear Mr. Thompson:
I was requested by Mr. Noah M. Hill for a letter of recommendation, to which I immediately said yes, knowing how great he is both as a worker and as an individual. I closely worked with Mr. Hill for three years, when he was in my department as Social Media Expert. Yes, he deserves that word “expert” in his official job title, that is why I highly endorse Mr. Hill to your company.
When Mr. Hill arrived at our company, our three social media accounts were in shambles because the person he replaced abruptly resigned. After working on it for an entire week, Mr. Hill amazingly breathed new life to all our social media accounts. Months passed and the number of followers and engagement increased. On Facebook alone, the “Likes” our page and individual posts receive from time to time has been satisfying, thanks to Mr. Hill’s flawless administration, creativity, and undeniable wittiness. His posts – entertaining, deep, serious, funny – get shared by a lot of our followers. You may check out our social media accounts to judge for yourself.
The best thing about Mr. Hill is that he is even more intelligent, more hilarious, and much more wonderful offline. He is always punctual and even when beating tight deadlines and rushing several tasks, he was never grumpy. His colleagues, myself included, find him amiable, charming, and trustworthy. His awesome sense of humor, both offline and online, never fails.
We miss him in our office; nevertheless, we all wish him the best, and I strongly recommend Mr. Hill to your company.
I placed my contact information below in case you have questions or other concerns.
Mrs. Victoria I. Clark
Marketing Supervisor, Aurora Productions
Office: (217) 753-2040
Never dismiss the power and influence of a letter of recommendation. It could open doors to a whole new world of opportunities for someone.
Put that power into your hands by knowing how to learn how to write a convincing letter of recommendation template before you receive a request for one.