Tips and Advice for Recommendation Letters

When writing a recommendation letter or writing a reference letter, it is necessary to be positive and encouraging about the candidate. If you feel unable to undertake the task then rather decline the request. You need to convey as many of their best attributes as possible within the recommendation letter format or reference letter format, trying to link them to specific examples of behaviour and/or achievements.

Recommendation/Reference Letter Help

Recommendation/Reference Letter Language and Keywords

For a recommendation letter or reference letter you must make sure your wording is logical and complimentative to portray the subject of the letter to be a good applicant for the position. Try to include some of these key points:

  • Buzz words: adjectives, adverbs, verbs
  • Vocabulary: professional or personal (depending), formal
  • Comments: add personal opinions and experiences
  • Qualities: positive, descriptive
  • Relatable: always make connections
  • Transferrable skills: exemplify
  • Key points: be clear, separate text into sections with headers (optional)

Advice on Writing a Recommendation/Reference Letter

When writing a recommendation letter or writing a reference letter, the procedure can sometimes be complicated. If you are the one requesting, make sure you know how to ask for a recommendation letter beforehand so you can notify your reference in advance, and if you are the one writing the letter, gather as much information beforehand.

  • Ask your reference well ahead of your deadline, giving them a deadline as well to hand in the letter to you
  • Know who the letter is being addressed to (if unknown use ¨To Whom it May Concern¨)
  • Always portray good characteristics
  • If you are writing the letter, make sure you know the person who you are writing about
  • If you are the one requesting the letter, make sure you know the person you are asking to write it
  • Try to keep the length of the letter around one page long
  • Avoid mentioning weaknesses
  • Remember to thank your reference after receiving the letter
  • Know the difference between what is a recommendation letter and what is a reference letter and which one you need to be writing

Viewing some recommendation letter samples should help put the formatting into perspective.

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