Writing Letter of Recommendation
by Trish Williams
Tips on Writing Letter of Recommendation
Several friends, co-workers and people I’ve hired over the years to work for me have helped me become more proficient in writing letter of recommendation type documents that were required. When writing letter of recommendation and other types of documents, it’s important to provide benefit statements about the person that are personalized and to the point.
What to include when writing letter of recommendation
Introduction – When I’m writing letter of recommendation documents I always introduce myself and how I’m associated with the person for whom I’m writing. I state my position, years of knowing the person, and what joy and privilege it is that I’m writing letter of recommendation for the particular person.
Emphasis on character – Most organizations that require writing letter of recommendation documents want to hear about a person’s character. They are looking for reliability, honesty, individuals who will come into work on time, high moral ethics, flexibility, and the ability to get along well with others. When writing letter of recommendation documents, I always emphasize these things as well as their communication and work skills and knowledge.
Recommending the individual to the organization -- Writing letter of recommendation documents are basically like a promotion or PR piece on the person. After establishing yourself through an introduction, and after emphasizing the individual’s character traits, next, when writing letter of recommendation documents, you must recommend them highly. Use active language, power words and strong verbs that are descriptive and draw the point home. For example: “It is with great pleasure that I can recommend John Doe for the position of advertising manager. He has a strong commitment to success; a tremendous dedication to the pursuit of greatness, and his loyalty and vision as a past employee and friend are unsurpassable. John comes highly recommended by me, and my team of marketing associates.”
What not to do when writing letter of recommendation
Phony letters can be spotted immediately. If you do not know the person you shouldn’t be writing letter of recommendation documents for them. If you don’t know a person that well, you can still write the letter but be honest about the length of time you’ve known them, and emphasize the positive things you’ve discovered about them since you’ve met.
Writing letter of recommendation documents can be a challenge at times. You don’t want to inflate your points and make the letter seem fake, and at the same time, you don’t want to de-emphasize the great qualities that abound in a person. The key is to match the qualities in the person with the type of work he or she will be doing. Use the same language as is on the job description, given to you to work from.
Don’t make your letter of recommendation longer than three or four paragraphs, and definitely no longer than one page. If you’re too brief, it will look suspicious. If you’re too long-winded, the person reading your letter might lose interest. Writing letter of recommendation documents can be not only rewarding to you, but definitely a great help to the person who needs your recommendation. A good source to check into when writing letter of recommendation documents, is the Mayfield Handbook, a compilation of suggestions and style tips useful for all types of writing.
Trish Williams is a freelance writer and marketing consultant who has published numerous articles in magazines and newspapers across the country. She also works on web design, web content, graphics, promotions and copywriting.