50 Free Letter of Recommendation Templates (Word | PDF)

A Letter of Recommendation is a reference letter describing someone’s qualities and abilities, written by someone who has worked with them to add extra weight and merit to a college or job application.

It is written by a teacher, former professor, supervisor, principal investigator, team leader, or employer to support the applicant for a new post.

You may be requested to write a recommendation letter for a person applying for college or university, scholarships, internships, a job, or a leadership and volunteer opportunity. The letter needs to add positive details about the applicant and any information you have learned about them, such as their work performance and behavior.

The most common recommendation letters are used for:

  • Seeking employment
  • Applying for university admission
  • Endorsing someone’s character.

Different Types of Letter of Recommendation Templates

Recommendation letters are needed for different situations; hence, they are available in various types. It all depends on the candidate’s requirements:

Printable Graduate School Recommendation Letter Sample for Word File

Printable Designer Recommendation Letter Sample for Word File

Printable Customer Service Recommendation Letter Sample for Word File

Printable Close Friend Recommendation Letter Sample for Word File

Printable Coworker Recommendation Letter Sample for Word File

Printable Supervisor Recommendation Letter Sample for Word File

Downloadable School Teacher Recommendation Letter Sample as Word Format

Downloadable Scholarships Recommendation Letter Sample as Word Format

Downloadable Student Recommendation Letter Sample as Word Format

Downloadable Data Analyst Recommendation Letter Sample as Word Format

Downloadable Teaching Job Recommendation Letter Sample as Word Format

Downloadable Content Writer Recommendation Letter Sample as Word Format

    Importance of Recommendation Letters

    Recommendation letters communicate information about the applicant to a hiring manager from someone else’s perspective and reinforce the applicant’s resume.

    Their purpose is to help:

    Powerfully advocate the job seeker

    The letter can be used to show your support or back your candidate. If the note shows support, then the employer will be inclined to view the applicant as a committed and successful person.

    Add personality to the application

    Having a customized letter that shows your candidate’s specific strengths and abilities will go a long way for them. In addition, it shows the hiring manager the particular qualities of your candidate that set them apart from the other applicants.

    Point out the applicant’s past achievements

    Talking over your candidate’s accomplishments shows the hiring manager the ability of the applicant to achieve similar actions over time. Thus, past achievements are used as a mirror to measure the performance of the candidate.

    It helps the job seeker get hired

    In most cases, the hiring manager will be interested in applicants with recommendation letters, unlike those without. A good letter of recommendation will give the candidate a better chance of getting hired for the job. Writing a good recommendation letter impacts the hiring manager positively because they tend to be interested in the details of those applicants who are writing in a specific and personal manner.

    Characteristics of Letter of Recommendation

    The primary purpose of a recommendation letter is to provide an outsider’s perspective on a specific applicant. Here, you can get an idea of the essential components that a recommendation letter should meet to ensure that it is honest and accurately reflects the applicant:

    It is personal

    A recommendation letter needs to be unique, have a pleasant, personable tone, and an enticing manner of writing. An enticing letter goes a long way toward ensuring the reader is willing to read it. Employers and universities mainly request reference letters because they want to get a third-person perspective of the applicant’s qualities and personal achievements.

    It comes from a reliable source

    The recommendation letter needs to come from someone with enough knowledge of the applicant. This can be a former employer who has witnessed their performance or a teacher who knows the person well and their traits.

    Use of supportive/enthusiastic/positive language

    This letter is to be used to ensure the candidate gets the opportunity they are applying for. Hence, it is essential to write the letter with a tone and language that show enthusiasm and support for the candidate. You can use words such as ‘outstanding’, ‘wholeheartedly’, and ‘sincerely’ to show your support and inject passion into your words. In addition, you can describe the applicant’s strengths using adjectives such as ‘exceptional’ or ‘superb’.

    It is specific and detailed in nature

    A recommendation letter should be precise, factual, and contain enough details about the candidate. Write about their performance in particular, and you can also give an instance that may support the details provided. Avoid writing the usual clichés.

    It contains a narrative

    This letter needs to ensure that the reader understands the progress and growth of the applicant. When they are done reading the letter, it should help provide a better understanding of the connection between you and the applicant and connect to it like a story. Ensure you include anecdotes that show the applicant’s character and abilities where possible.

    It is relevant to the applicant’s goal and achievements

    A good letter should focus on the skills that are most relevant and important to the job they are applying for. Also, show the goals the candidate has and how they have been going about achieving them.

    Who May Ask for a Letter of Recommendation?

    As the person writing a recommendation letter, you need to know who the applicant is and why he or she needs the letter. As a teacher or school counselor, your student may ask you for a recommendation letter to apply to a college or university to show their ability and character.

    In the case where you are someone’s close relative or supervisor, the candidate may ask you for a recommendation letter if they do not have any former work experience to show any volunteer work they may have done.

    As a college professor or university supervisor, your recent graduate student may need a recommendation letter to validate any school projects they may have participated in.

    Considerations Before Writing a Letter of Recommendation

    When asked to write a recommendation letter for anyone, there are many crucial things that you should consider before writing it:

    Ask the applicant for information

    Request the applicant for a copy of their resume, cover letter, or any other document that will be included in the job application. This gives you the context of the information to include in the recommendation letter to support these documents. You can also ask them directly for any details they may need to include in the letter.

    Do some research

    Conducting your research on the company, university/college, or target gives you a guide on what is required of the applicant. With this information researched, you are able to relate the applicant’s strengths to the needed requirements.

    Choose the type of letter you are writing

    This is where you evaluate what the letter is needed for. The tone and language used in recommendation letters differ depending on the type of application. For instance, if a manager writes a recommendation letter for a former employee, the letter may tend to have a more formal tone and include more detail on the professional achievements of the applicant.

    A character reference, on the other hand, from a relative or friend tends to have a more casual tone and describe the applicant’s characteristics and strengths.

    Writing an honest recommendation letter with a well-detailed relationship with the applicant gives the reader a better understanding of the applicant. You should make sure you know more information about the applicant before agreeing to write them a recommendation letter.

    Ensure you have observed or worked with the applicant over time.

    • Can you outline their strengths and skills?
    • Can you give detailed examples of the applicant’s performance?
    • Do you have positive feedback you can give about them?

    If you cannot provide the above information about your applicant, let them know you cannot write the letter to avoid writing a recommendation letter with no quality.

    Free Standard Templates

    Editable Coworker Recommendation Letter Template as Word Format

    Downloadable Curator Assistant Recommendation Letter Sample for Pdf File

    Editable Call Center Recommendation Letter Sample as Word Format

    Editable General Recommendation Letter Template as Word Format

    Editable National Honor Society Recommendation Letter Sample as Word Format

    Downloadable University Admission Recommendation Letter Sample for Pdf File

    Editable Intern Recommendation Letter Sample as Word Format

    Editable Tenant Recommendation Letter Template as Word Format

    Downloadable Long-Standing Member Recommendation Letter Sample for Pdf File

    Professional Class Teacher Recommendation Letter Template as Word Document

    Great Premium Physician Assistant Program Recommendation Letter Sample for Word Document

    Downloadable Primary Teacher Recommendation Letter Sample for Pdf File

    Downloadable PHD Admission Recommendation Letter Sample for Pdf File

    Professional Company Employee Recommendation Letter Template as Word Document

    Great Premium College Recommendation Letter Sample for Word Document

    Great Premium Professor Recommendation Letter Sample for Word Document

    Professional Business Recommendation Letter Template as Word Document

    Great Premium MBA Program Recommendation Letter Sample for Word Document

    Great Premium Residency Program Recommendation Letter Sample for Word Document

    Great Premium Clerkship Recommendation Letter Sample for Word Document

    Great Premium Fellowship Recommendation Letter Sample for Word Document

    Professional Formal Business Recommendation Letter Template as Word Document

      How to Write a Compelling Letter of Recommendation

      After agreeing to write the recommendation, it is now crucial for you to write the best letter to ensure the applicant gets the opportunity they are applying for.

      Here are some points on how to go about writing a compelling letter:

      Contact information is on the letterhead

      Your name and contact information should be written first at the top of the letter. Then write the contact information of the person to whom the letter is to be addressed on the top left corner, that is, their full name, job title, name of organization/institution, address, and date.

      A polite and personable salutation

      Greetings or salutations are the next steps in writing a recommendation letter. You can use “To whom it may concern” if you do not know the name of the hiring manager or the recipient. if you know their name, use “Dear first name” for the salutation.


      Ensure your first line shows your enthusiasm to recommend the applicant.

      How do you know the applicant

      Use this paragraph to introduce yourself and explain how you know the applicant. Show the reader how long you may have known the applicant and in what way.

      Who you are

      Ensure you tell the reader who you are and what your profession or career is. For example, if you are a teacher, a college professor, or a former manager, use this paragraph to say it.

      Establish your relationship with the applicant

      It is important to establish your relationship with the applicant. This will further elaborate your connection and explain how you know the applicant and who you are to them.

      Give words of praise

      Make sure you remember to give words of praise to the applicant. Positive comments and enthusiasm entice the reader to consider the applicant more.


      It is my great pleasure to recommend Chris for the position of assistant editor. As his university professor for the past three years, I have witnessed the amazing contributions that Chris has made to the community. He is not only an excellent and dedicated student but he has also enriched the lives of the entire college faculty. Chris is truly special for his compassion and commitment to helping others.


      The second paragraph is where you give details about your applicant.

      Showcase the applicant’s strengths/achievements

      Ensure you showcase the applicant’s professional and academic strengths. Include their qualifications and achievements that support these skills and strengths. The reader needs to see what the applicant can deliver, hence showing their best strengths and important achievements.

      You can use this section to share a personal story as an example to illustrate more of their best qualities, characteristics, or attributes. A personal story shows a better relationship between you and the applicant and helps the reader see a narrative in the letter.


      Chris has committed himself specifically to the journalism department. He has been passionate about creating articles and newspapers and has been involved in research on the issues faced by the community. He is deeply committed to his craft, having taken extra educational courses for most of his life. Chris has an incredible presence and editing skills. Not only does he give amazing performances, but the tasks he performs are done to the best of his ability. While he is certainly a talented individual, Chris has ensured he has put in countless hours to improve his skills.


      After you are done writing the main parts, conclude the recommendation letter by explaining the reason for which the applicant is leaving the current position. Also, provide convincing reassurance to the reader so they can be motivated to accept the applicant’s application. Give a closing statement by calling for action, like telling them that they can call you and ask questions.


      Chris has my ecstatic recommendation. He is a calm, compassionate, hard-working, and strong person who has a clear sense of direction and purpose. I am confident that he will bring the same warmth, support, insight, and hard work to your organization. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.


      The last part of the recommendation letter is to close with a formal sign-off. Your name should follow the sign-off.


      Chris Smith

      Format of a Recommendation Letter

      Write the recommendation letter using a business letter format. Write a one-page letter using the 12 font size and basic font style, like for instance, Times New Roman. Use the left alignment with 1.5 margins in your paragraphs.

      Recommendation Letter Template

      [Your Name]

      [Your Position]

      [Your Company/Organization]

      [Your Address]

      [City, State, Zip Code]

      [Your Email Address]

      [Your Phone Number]


      [Recipient’s Name or “To Whom It May Concern,”]

      [Recipient’s Position, if known]

      [Recipient’s Company/Organization, if known]

      [Recipient’s Address, if known]

      [City, State, Zip Code]

      Dear [Recipient’s Name or “To Whom It May Concern,”],

      I am writing to wholeheartedly recommend [Candidate’s Name] for [specific position, role, opportunity, or general professional endeavors]. As [Your Relationship to the Candidate, e.g., “their manager,” “colleague,” “professor”], I have had the pleasure of witnessing [Candidate’s Name]’s remarkable professional growth and achievements over the past [duration of your relationship with the candidate] at [Your Company/Organization].

      [Candidate’s Name] has consistently demonstrated exceptional skills in [mention 2-3 key skills or areas, e.g., project management, leadership, technical expertise], making a significant impact on our team and projects. [He/She/They] possesses a unique blend of [mention qualities, e.g., dedication, creativity, analytical skills], which [he/she/they] has leveraged to achieve [mention specific accomplishments or contributions].

      One notable project that highlights [Candidate’s Name]’s capabilities involved [describe a specific project or achievement]. [He/She/They] [describe the candidate’s role, actions taken, and the project’s outcome]. This is just one example of [his/her/their] ability to [mention the skills or qualities the project demonstrates, e.g., lead effectively, solve complex problems, innovate].

      Moreover, [Candidate’s Name]’s interpersonal skills and team-oriented approach have made [him/her/them] an invaluable asset to our organization. [He/She/They] consistently fosters a positive and collaborative work environment, encouraging others and contributing to our collective success.

      I am confident that [Candidate’s Name] will bring the same level of excellence, dedication, and innovation to [mention the new role, company, or field]. [He/She/They] is well-equipped to handle the challenges and opportunities that come with [specific position or professional endeavor], and I wholeheartedly endorse [him/her/them] for this next step in [his/her/their] career.

      Please do not hesitate to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address] should you require further information or wish to discuss [Candidate’s Name]’s qualifications and achievements in more detail.

      Thank you for considering my recommendation. I am confident that [Candidate’s Name] will make a significant contribution to your team and look forward to seeing the great things [he/she/they] will accomplish.


      [Your Name]

      [Your Position]

      [Your Company/Organization]

      Recommendation Letter Sample

      Dear Ms. Gonzalez,

      I am writing to wholeheartedly recommend Alex Rivera for the position of Editor at Innovative Reads Publishing. As the Senior Editor at Global Publishing House, I have had the privilege of working closely with Alex for over three years, during which I witnessed his remarkable growth, dedication, and outstanding contributions to our editorial team.

      Alex possesses a rare combination of meticulous attention to detail, creative vision, and excellent communication skills, which he has applied to elevate the quality of our publications significantly. His ability to dissect complex manuscripts, identify areas for improvement, and collaborate with authors to refine their work has been instrumental in the success of numerous best-selling titles under our banner.

      One of Alex’s notable achievements includes leading the editorial process for “Journeys Unfolded,” a novel that not only received critical acclaim but also achieved a New York Times Bestseller status within the first month of its release. His strategic approach to the editing process, incorporating thorough market research and trend analysis, ensured the book’s wide appeal and commercial success.

      Moreover, Alex’s commitment to fostering a collaborative and supportive work environment has made him a cherished member of our team. He consistently goes above and beyond to mentor junior editors and interns, sharing his knowledge and passion for literature to inspire the next generation of publishing professionals.

      I am confident that Alex will bring the same level of excellence, innovation, and leadership to the Editor position at Innovative Reads Publishing. His forward-thinking approach to editing and publishing, combined with his unwavering dedication to nurturing literary talent, makes him an ideal candidate for your team.

      Please feel free to contact me at (555) 234-5678 or via email at jordan.matthews@email.com should you require any further information or wish to discuss Alex’s qualifications and achievements in more detail.

      Thank you for considering my recommendation. I have no doubt that Alex Rivera will make a significant contribution to Innovative Reads Publishing, and I look forward to witnessing the great things he will accomplish with your esteemed team.


      Jordan Matthews

      Senior Editor

      Global Publishing House


      This recommendation letter is highly effective due to its comprehensive and persuasive presentation of Alex Rivera’s qualifications for an Editor position. The writer, a Senior Editor with direct supervisory experience over Alex, leverages this perspective to provide a detailed account of Alex’s skills, achievements, and personal qualities. Highlighting Alex’s meticulous attention to detail, creative vision, and communication skills offers a well-rounded view of his editorial competencies.

      Specific achievements, such as leading the editorial process for a novel that achieved New York Times Bestseller status, serve as concrete evidence of Alex’s capability to contribute significantly to publishing projects. This accomplishment is not only a testament to his skill but also aligns with the objectives of most publishing houses, making his candidacy more appealing.

      The letter also emphasizes Alex’s positive impact on the workplace culture, noting his commitment to mentoring and fostering collaboration. This aspect suggests that Alex would not only excel in his role but also enhance the work environment and contribute to team development.

      By offering to provide further information and discuss Alex’s qualifications in more detail, the recommender demonstrates confidence in Alex’s abilities and readiness to endorse him further. This open offer adds credibility to the recommendation and shows genuine support for Alex’s application.

      Overall, the letter’s effectiveness lies in its specific examples of professional excellence, emphasis on both individual achievements and teamwork, and the recommender’s clear, supportive stance, making a compelling case for Alex Rivera’s candidacy.

      How to Write a Strong Recommendation Letter

      Colleges and employers get plenty of resumes and cover letters. With an effective recommendation letter, you can set your student or employee apart from other applicants.

      For an impactful letter, consider the following advice:

      Make the letter to the job at hand

      Address your letter to the requirements of the opportunity. The letter should not be copy-pasted from another job; ensure it is specialized for the specific job. Make sure your letter conveys your understanding of the applicant’s goals and your unwavering support for them. This letter goes along with showing the hiring manager that this particular application is the best fit for the role.

      Keep it positive

      Make the letter positive and enthusiastic to show the best traits of the applicant. Highlight their exceptional skills and strengths to show them in the best light.

      Start with enthusiasm

      Be positive and ecstatic in your first line or paragraph. Using enthusiasm at the beginning of the letter ensures you capture the attention of the reader and put them in the mood to want to read the whole letter.


      As Mary’s former project supervisor at ABC, it is my great pleasure to recommend her for the role of project assistant.

      Explain why your opinion matters

      When it comes to recommendation letters, the weight differs for different people. For instance, for university applications, a letter from a teacher may have a better impact than one from a nurse. Showing the reader why your opinion matters gives them a better perspective on the applicant. The reader wants to see the perspective of someone who has seen the applicant perform various activities at their best strength.

      This is why it is important to explain who you are and your relationship to the applicant so that the reader understands your opinion.

      Showcase the applicant’s essential qualification

      The applicant’s achievements, qualifications, and success should be well highlighted to show why they are best suited for the opportunity. In addition, showcasing their capabilities tells the reader what to expect from the applicant in their organization.

      Use 2 to 3 examples

      Ensure you write examples of what the applicants may have done to support the achievements you have highlighted. These examples work as bonus points to highlight the competency level of the applicant.


      If it is a new job for project management, choose a story where the applicant did a beneficial project for the people or a community.

      Key Takeaways

      • A recommendation letter is used to support the skills of the applicant.
      • Ensure you are honest and detailed in your recommendation letter.
      • Do enough research about the applicant and the position they are applying for to identify the requirements.

      About This Article

      Shannon O'Brien
      Authored by:
      Career and Life Strategy Consulting, Workshops, E-learning
      Shannon O'Brien, the visionary Founder and Principal Advisor of Whole U., has positioned her Boston-based consultancy as a beacon for those seeking purpose and balance in their careers and lives. Whole U. offers a spectrum of services, from individualized advising to immersive workshops and e-learning platforms, all designed to empower individuals to chase their true calling and cultivate a harmonious life. Recognized for her unparalleled expertise, Shannon has been honored as both the #1 Career Coach and Life Coach in Boston by Yelp users. Her insights and contributions have been spotlighted on platforms like Boston.com, Boldfacers, and the UR Business Network. Cementing her authority in the field, Shannon holds a Master's degree in Technology, Innovation, & Education from the prestigious Harvard University.

      Was this helpful?

      Great! Tell us more about your experience

      Not Up to Par? Help Us Fix It!

      Keep Reading

      Thank You for Your Feedback!

      Your Voice, Our Progress. Your feedback matters a lot to us.