How to Write a Letter of Recommendation [Tips and Examples]

Here you will find some useful tips and sample letters on How to write a Letter of Recommendation for a student, friend, or a grad school:

Some jobs make it a requirement to have a recommendation letter as a part of the application process. You might need to submit two to three recommendation letters along with the resume and cover letter. Some might ask for them further along the recruitment process.

These letters of recommendation hold significant weight to those who receive them.

So, in this article, we are going to tell you how to write a letter of recommendation for various purposes- for employees, students, etc.

Let’s get started.

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation

What is a Letter of Recommendation

It is a letter someone writes on the behalf of an applicant, vouching for their performance- educational and professional. Typically, this letter is sent to the hiring manager or admissions office for employment, scholarships, or admissions.


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These recommendation letters offer an insight into the personal qualities of the applicant, qualities like potential, leadership abilities, integrity, intellect, etc. And that’s why it is important to know how to write a letter of recommendation for a student or a professional because it can give them an edge over the others.

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How to Start

You can’t just write a letter of recommendation. It is a process that we have summarised the process in two major steps for you.

#1) Start with the Background Information

The first thing you need to do is to know why are you writing this letter. Are you writing it for someone’s admissions, a reference of character, job, or something else?

Background Information

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Ask the recommender to give you some information, such as:

  1. Contact details of the addressee.
  2. Updated resume.
  3. Details about the position the recommendee is seeking.
  4. Something they need to be mentioned and highlighted.
  5. When is the letter supposed to be sent?

#2) Master the Letter Format

Master The Letter Format

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There are three main points in a good recommendation letter:

  1. How are you related to the recommendee?
  2. What is your observation about them and how do you evaluate their work?
  3. Why are they qualified for the position they are applying for?

So, here’s what you must do:

  1. In a sentence or two, establish how you know the person, for how long, and what was or is your relationship.
  2. Examine them and their work. Then highlight the key points and their strengths that will prove beneficial for the part they are applying to.
  3. Describe what makes them different from the crowd and use specific incidents and examples to highlight those claims.

Useful Tips

This section includes tips on Professional How to Write a Letter of Recommendation. It is a natural instinct to want the candidate you are writing a recommendation for to have the best chance. And for that, you should be able to write a professional and strong recommendation letter.

We have some tips on Professional How to Write a Letter of Recommendation that will stand out.

#1) Research Well

First, find out why you are writing this letter of recommendation. If it’s about a job, then which job and what profile. If it is about a student, then which school or university and what is the course. This will help you focus on your skills and qualifications specific to that particular role.

#2) Be on point and make it Personal

Make the recommendation letter personal with examples and specific details. Choose strong, accurate words to explain why that person is best suited for the profile and stay away from the cliches.

Consider what the person reading this letter will be interested in. Add insights and details that don’t come up in applications and resumes. It will help them know your recommendee better.

#3) Keep it Positive

Your candidate will get the job or admission based on your recommendation letter. So, make sure your letter shows genuine enthusiasm and avoid anything that could be taken in a negative light. Make a superlative comparison if you can.

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#4) Keep it Short and Formal

Go for the business letter format with Arial or Times New Roman with font size twelve. If you have a letterhead, use it for the letter. Remember, the person you are sending the recommendation letter to read hundreds, or maybe thousands, of letters every day. So, make sure your letter is precise, to the point, and effective.

#5) Decline if you can’t write a Recommendation

If you can’t offer a commendatory recommendation letter to the person, politely decline. A mediocre recommendation letter can be as damaging as a negative recommendation. It might feel uncomfortable, but it’s better to decline.

#6) Adhere to the Guidelines

If there is a specific guideline for writing and submitting, follow the guidelines to the point. Also, make sure the letter reaches on time, or preferably early. It is important that your letter makes a good impression for endorsement.

Things to Include in a Recommendation Letter

Recommendation Letter format

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Every formal document comes with a certain pattern.

Here’s what to include in the recommendation letter:

#1) Letter Opening

Start with the proper salutation with the last name. In some cases, you can start with your name, address, phone number, and email ID followed by the name, organization, and address. Then put the salutation. See if there are guidelines for writing the letter and follow them strictly.

#2) Starting Paragraph

In the first paragraph, mention the name of the person you are writing this to and how you know them. Add your name, job title, and the job title of the individual you interacted with. Also, mention the nature of your relationship and if you have ever supervised the person you are recommending to them.

#3) Main Body

The body of the letter should be about the skills of the person you are recommending. Also mention their qualities, areas of expertise, and knowledge, along with their other positive traits.

Make a list of their strengths and highlight the ones that are vital for the job they are applying for. Also, provide specific examples where they have displayed the effective use of certain qualities.

Mention incidences where that person has added value to the organization. If you can quantify their contribution with figures, numbers, and percentages, it will be even better.

#4) Letter Closing

In the closing, simply mention that you have enjoyed working with them and have seen them grow. Or, you can say that given a chance, you will hire the person again and that they will be an outstanding asset to whichever company they will join.

#5) The Bottom

You can also share your contact information and offer to share more information about the candidate. It will also allow the prospective employer to easily get in touch with you if need be and add credibility to your letter.

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Letter of Recommendation – Samples

Sample #1 – How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for a Student

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for a Student

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Address the Letter to the Admissions Committee.

Start by mentioning how you know the students you are recommending and if you have ever taught them. Then add a line or two about what impressed you and mention a few of their strengths.

In the next paragraph, add a few instances where they have depicted their expertise and strengths. Outline one or two highlights of their education careers with you, especially the ones that are best suited for the course they are applying for.

In the next paragraph, mention their other academic strengths and achievements to point out why they will be an asset to their institute. And talk about their future goals in a line or two.

In the closing line, lay emphasis on why they should give them a chance and consider them for admission.

At the bottom, add your name and contact details.

Sample #2 – How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for a Friend

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for a Friend

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If it is a neighbor you have known for a long time, a close family friend, a mentor, or anyone you have known for a long time, you can write a character recommendation for them.

Address it to the Hiring Manager or Admissions Committee.

Mention who and why you are writing this letter for. Then, introduce yourself in a line or two and mention how you are connected to the person you are writing this recommendation letter for.

In the next paragraph, list the specific reasons you think that person will be right for this job.

Then, add an instance where you have personally witnessed their qualities, including their soft and hard skills.

Lastly, add a closing statement with your contact information and willingness to share more information if needed.

Sample #3 – How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for Grad School

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for Grad School

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Start by greeting the recipient with a proper salutation

In the opening paragraph, mention the name of the recommendee, and the name of the program you are recommending them for. In the next line, mention your name, your profession, and how you know the recommendee. Then add a line about your general assessment of them.

In the next paragraph, mention their positive traits, especially the ones that will be relevant to the program. Use some instances, anecdotes, and examples to support your claims.

Carry on with their other strengths, skills, and other evidence of character. Make sure you don’t mention anything that could be taken in a negative light.

Conclude by offering a clear recommendation of the candidate for that specific school or program.

Close the letter by offering your contact information and mentioning that you will be glad to offer more information about the candidate if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) How do I write a good letter of recommendation?

Answer: Make sure you keep the letter to the point and concise. Mention only positive traits and highlight the qualities that are relevant to the job profile. Add examples and instances to support your claims. And proofread your letter before sending it.

Q #2) How do you start a recommendation letter for a student?

Answer: Start the letter with a proper salutation and then mention the name of the candidate you are writing the recommendation letter for along with the position or course they are applying for. Then introduce yourself, your job profile, and how you know or are related to the recommendee.

Q #3) How long should a recommendation letter be?

Answer: The letter of recommendation should be no longer than two pages. Focus more on quality rather than quantity. Keep it at least a page long.

Q #4) How do you end a letter of recommendation for college?

Answer: End the letter with a statement for a sincere recommendation of your candidate for the college or course. You can also mention how you think that college is best suited for your recommendee.

Q #5) What do colleges look for in a letter of recommendation?

Answer: Admissions officers look to learn about your qualities and strengths from the person recommending you. They want to understand your personality and how you are best suited for the job/college/course you are applying for.


In this article, we have mentioned everything you will need to write a strong recommendation letter along with some templates that you can follow. You will need more than one draft to create a compelling letter of recommendation.

Further Reading =>> Tips on Resume Cover Letter

Make sure you proofread the letter thoroughly to raise the chances of your candidate and make a good impression of yourself.