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How to Write a Letter of Recommendation?

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation?

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By Prabhadri Suman|Updated On - 2023-09-15 06:45:57

Learn how to write a letter of recommendation. Get tips, LOR guidelines, and samples for students, UG, MS. If you are writing the letter, you may be reaching out to a reference for a recommendation.

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation?

Topics Covered:

  • What is a letter of recommendation?
  • Importance of Recommendation Letter
  • How to Write a Letter of Recommendation?
  • LOR Sample For UG Program
  • LOR Sample For Professionals
  • LOR Sample For MS Program
  • What makes a good letter of recommendation?
  • Tips for Writing a Strong Letter of Recommendation
  • LOR Guidelines
  • LOR Samples for Students: Basic Format
  • LOR Template
  • Conclusion

Letters of recommendation are taken seriously by admissions officers. As college admissions become more competitive every year, recommendations can make all the difference.

Most admissions panels look for a complete perspective of the applicant. Beyond your academics and exam results, they are interested in who you are. A great recommendation letter promotes your wonderful qualities while also providing insight into your character and personality.

A letter of recommendation is a letter that recommends the work or academic performance of an individual. It is usually sent to a hiring manager or admissions officer who is deciding whether to hire or admit a candidate.

What is a letter of recommendation?

Known also as a reference letter, a letter of recommendation provides admission officers with insight into whether or not a candidate is suitable for a particular position. There are many types of posts, including jobs, internships, master's degrees, and Ph.D. programs.

The purpose of a letter of recommendation is to describe a person's qualifications and skills as they relate to employment or education. The letter may come from a previous employer, a professor, a colleague, a client, or a teacher. They discuss which qualities and capabilities make the candidate a good fit for the position, college, or graduate program.

Are you planning to study abroad?

Importance of Recommendation Letter

In order to secure admission to a university abroad, there are a few vital documents, such as a resume, statement of purpose, and admission essay. While each of these is essential in its own right, the recommendation letter is of paramount importance. As a result, it allows you to prove that your work is credible to someone in authority.

Having validation from another person, especially an experienced professional or someone who has worked with you is very valuable in academics and the workplace. As they have worked with you personally, their words matter.

These letters provide significant significance to a person's skills and character. The recommendation and observation support showing behaviour to help hiring managers and recruiters get a better understanding of the person and their potential for future success. 

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation?

1. Introduction

A letter of recommendation is a crucial document that can make or break a candidate's chances of securing a coveted position, be it for academic or professional purposes. As a writer, it is your responsibility to craft a unique, SEO-friendly piece that carefully adheres to the designated tone of voice while avoiding plagiarism. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the nitty-gritty of writing an exceptional letter of recommendation, providing insights, tips, and techniques to help you create a polished and compelling document.

2. Understanding the Purpose of a Letter of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation serves as a testament to a candidate's skills, qualifications, and personal attributes, providing valuable insights that might not be readily apparent from their resume or application. Typically required during the application process for university admissions, fellowships, internships, job applications, or volunteer opportunities, these letters can significantly influence a decision-maker's perception of the applicant, potentially tipping the scales in their favor.

3. Types of Recommendation Letters

There are three main types of recommendation letters, each catering to specific application scenarios:

  • Academic recommendation letters
  • Employment recommendation letters
  • Character recommendation letters

Each type of recommendation letter focuses on different aspects of the candidate's background, such as their academic performance, professional experience, or personal qualities. The writer's relationship with the candidate – whether as a teacher, employer, or personal acquaintance – also plays a critical role in shaping the content and tone of the letter.

4. Essential Components of a Letter of Recommendation

An effective letter of recommendation should include the following sections:

  • Salutation
  • Introduction
  • Overview of the candidate's skills, qualifications, and strengths
  • Personal anecdote showcasing the candidate's abilities
  • Closing statement and call to action
  • Signature and contact information

Each section serves a specific purpose, working together to paint a comprehensive picture of the candidate's suitability for the position in question.

5. Formatting and Layout Guidelines for a Letter of Recommendation

To ensure readability and professional presentation, adhere to the following formatting and layout rules:

  • One-page length
  • Single-spaced lining with spaces between paragraphs
  • Traditional font (e.g., Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri)
  • 1" margins on all sides
  • 10-12pt font size
  • Left-aligned text

These guidelines help create a visually appealing and easy-to-read document that conveys your message effectively.

6. How to Write a Powerful and Persuasive Letter of Recommendation

Crafting a persuasive letter of recommendation involves more than just adhering to the format and layout guidelines. Focus on the following tips to ensure your letter stands out:

  • Write an attention-grabbing introduction
  • Establish a meaningful relationship with the candidate
  • Tailor your recommendation to the candidate's application
  • List the candidate's achievements
  • Polish up your recommendation letter

By following these tips, you can create a recommendation letter that showcases the candidate in the best possible light and increases their chances of success.

7. Tips for Tailoring a Recommendation Letter to the Candidate's Application

To make your recommendation letter truly impactful, align it with the specific requirements of the position or program the candidate is applying for. This involves mentioning relevant skills, qualifications, and achievements that demonstrate the candidate's suitability for the role. Tailoring your letter in this manner helps decision-makers see the candidate as an ideal fit, increasing their chances of being selected.

8. Asking for a Letter of Recommendation: Best Practices

When requesting a letter of recommendation, consider the following best practices:

  • Choose an appropriate person who knows you well and can attest to your abilities
  • Provide ample notice and relevant information to the writer
  • Follow up with a thank you note once the letter has been submitted

By following these guidelines, you can ensure a smooth process and increase the likelihood of receiving a strong recommendation.

9. Crafting a Winning Recommendation Letter Template

Having a pre-built template can simplify the process of writing a recommendation letter, providing a consistent structure and format to work from. Use the following template as a starting point:

[Salutation]

[Attention-grabbing introduction]

[Brief introduction of the writer and relationship with the candidate]

[Overview of the candidate's skills, qualifications, and strengths]

[Personal anecdote showcasing the candidate's abilities]

[Closing statement and call to action]

[Signature and contact information]

By following this template, you can create a compelling and persuasive letter of recommendation that effectively highlights the candidate's strengths and qualifications.

10. Final Thoughts and Key Takeaways

A well-crafted letter of recommendation can significantly impact a candidate's chances of success in their application process. By following the guidelines and tips provided in this guide, you can create a unique, SEO-friendly, and engaging letter that effectively showcases the candidate's skills, qualifications, and personal attributes, increasing their chances of securing the coveted position or opportunity.       
 

 LOR Sample For UG Program

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation?

LOR Sample For Professionals

LOR Sample For MS Program

Read more: Letter of Recommendation (LOR) for Masters (MS): Sample, Format, & Tips 

What makes a good letter of recommendation?

Finding someone who will vouch for your good character can be one of the most challenging parts of applying to college. There are two types of letters of recommendation: those written by friends or family members and those written by employers. It doesn't matter what they are, they are both important. Letters of recommendation written by family members or friends are more personal. It is more professional to receive a letter written by an employer, but both are just as important. The more letters of recommendation you have, the better. Make sure the letters of recommendation you do receive are distinctive if you do receive more than one.

Your recommendation letter, whether it is written by a teacher, school counsellor, or a peer, should highlight both your personal qualities and achievements. The admissions committee is interested in learning more about you. They want to have a clear understanding of your character, interests, and personal qualities. What inspires you? How do you interact with your teachers and fellow students? How do you react to difficulties? What objectives have you established for yourself, and what actions are you taking to achieve them?

Colleges seek out applicants who will have a positive impact on their community and excel academically. A convincing letter will therefore discuss your prior achievement and how it anticipates your future success.

Character strength, leadership, and original skills are some qualities and characteristics that particularly impress admissions officers. Your recommenders might praise you for your sincerity, moral character, bravery, sense of humor, maturity, sensitivity to cultural differences, insight, or compassion. Your teachers may be able to speak specifically about your analytical, communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.

Tips for Writing a Strong Letter of Recommendation 

 If you're looking for guidance on how to write a letter of recommendation, here are a few tips that can help you through the process.

  • New letter for each recommendation  

It is recommended to draft a fresh letter for every recommendation. Although using a basic template can be useful, it is vital to personalize each letter by incorporating specific details that showcase the candidate's skills and abilities. Preparing a rough outline beforehand can help you cover all the essential points that you wish to highlight about the candidate's qualifications.

  • Request some bullet points  

Consider providing with a list of bullet points or a short paragraph highlighting the key points you wish to convey for the position. This will help you save time and ensure that you touch on the most pertinent aspects. Additionally, they may offer a draft of the letter which you can rephrase in your own words.

  •  Prepare a list of qualities  

Create a list of their skills and achievements that showcase your qualifications for the job. It's also a good idea to highlight  top assets that are relevant to the job you are seeking.

  • Include language from the job description  

If you want to understand the employer's expectations, you should ask for a job description copy. By reviewing the job description closely, you can tailor your application to meet the specific requirements of the position. If you're writing a general recommendation, you can request the applicant to give you a couple of job examples they're applying for, so you can write a more general recommendation that could apply to either.

  •  Focus on one or two qualities  

Please pick one or two qualities that you believe make the candidate suitable for the job. Back up your statements with specific examples of when the candidate displayed those qualities. For instance, discuss the obstacles they faced or challenges they tackled to achieve their objectives. You might want to write two paragraphs for the body of the letter, with one focusing on an achievement and the other on the candidate's character traits, such as fortitude, integrity, work ethic, or personal standards.

  •  Quantify the strengths  

Whenever possible, it's helpful to provide quantifiable evidence of your strengths. This might involve ranking in comparison to your peers or colleagues, such as having the strongest analytical skills. Similarly, you may want to mention specific accomplishments you achieved while working under supervision, such as contributing to a 25% increase in website traffic that helped to drive a 10% sales boost.

  •   Discuss their potential   

Please ensure that you mention in the letter the reasons why you think the candidate would perform exceptionally well if given the chance. You may consider highlighting their capacity to function effectively as a team player, as well as their ability to work autonomously. Additionally, please mention any skills, strengths, or talents that you believe will help them succeed in the future.

  •  Be enthusiastic  

Your aim is to assist the candidate in distinguishing themselves from other applicants for the job or college program they're seeking. Convey your excitement regarding how suitable they are for the position. You can easily accomplish this by informing the letter's recipient that you would be happy to rehire them in your department.

  • Proofread  

It is crucial to dedicate sufficient time to proofread the letter meticulously to prevent any typos or grammatical mistakes. In fact, it might be helpful to read the letter out loud to prevent unintentional skipping of words and potential errors.

  •  Use the right format and length  

For your letter, it is recommended to use a standard font such as Times New Roman with a print size of 12-point if you plan on printing it. For electronically submitted letters, Arial 11-point font is a good option. Ensure that the margin is around one inch wide if you are printing the letter. It is suggested that the length of the letter should be between two-thirds and one full-single spaced page.

LOR Guidelines

A letter of recommendation is usually a 400-500 word essay unless specified otherwise by the university or college. It should discuss the candidate's skills, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind while working on your LOR:       
 

  • Use the official letterhead of the previous institution or company for the LOR.
  • Ensure that the professional LOR recommender is still working in the company.
  • Remember that a LOR is not a repetition of an SOP, as they are two different documents.
  • An ideal LOR should demonstrate various perspectives and aspects of your personality that are not stated in your resume or SOP.

 LOR Samples for Students: Basic Format       
 

Here's the basic LOR format to follow:

  • To Whomsoever It May Concern
  • First Paragraph: Introduction – Introduce the recommender's credentials and relationship with the student, and mention how long they have known the student.
  • Second Paragraph: Discuss Major Quality  – Talk about the student's essential qualities, such as research aptitude, academic prowess, leadership, teamwork, organizational skills, etc. Provide examples to demonstrate these qualities.
  • Third Paragraph: Discuss Other Qualities  – Highlight another quality of the student and provide claims to support the qualities mentioned.
  • Fourth Paragraph: Talk about Some More Qualities  – Discuss co-curricular achievements or sports-related accomplishments, showcasing qualities like teamwork, enthusiasm, and an all-rounded personality.
  • Fifth Paragraph: Conclusion –  Summarize the student's strengths and provide an enthusiastic endorsement by the recommender for their candidacy.
  • Salutations  – Use phrases like "Best wishes," "Best regards," "Yours faithfully," or "Yours sincerely."
  • Recommender's Information – Include the recommender's name, designation, school, city, contact, and email.

LOR Template

Here's a template to assist you in writing a LOR:

To Whom This May Concern


 

My name is [Recommender Name], and I am pleased to offer my recommendation of [Candidate's full name], whom I have personally known for [number of years or months] at [location].


 

During my relationship with [candidate's name], I have observed that they are a diligent employee, showcasing qualities such as teamwork, initiative, work ethic, and maturity. I strongly recommend [Candidate's full name] for the program at [University's name].


 

For any queries, please contact me at:


 

Best,

[Signature]

[Date]

[Mobile Number]

[Email]

Conclusion

By writing a quality letter of recommendation, you're showing your potential employers or classmates that you know who they are and can write about them accordingly. A well-written letter of recommendation not only shows your employer or professor that you know the candidate well and understand their skills, but also shows the candidate that you are a great match for them.


A well-crafted letter of recommendation is an essential document that can make or break a candidate's chances of securing a coveted position. Made up of six parts, this guide provides insights, tips, and techniques to help you create a polished and compelling letter.   
With the right guidance and formatting, you can create a recommendation letter that showcases the candidate in the best possible light and increases their chances of success.

If you need to ask for a letter of recommendation, it is best to approach someone you know, who can give an objective account of your work and character and advice on how to ask for a letter of recommendation.

Edmissions can be your friend in need who can help you achieve your goals. For more information about studying in Canada , please contact the Edmissions team at edmissions.com . For questions, please reach out to our Edmissions specialists at [email protected].

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