An employment recommendation letter is a letter written to an entity or employer on behalf of a former employee or co-worker to validate their work, skills, and performance as well as to support their pursuit of a job position.
In the event, a former employee or colleague has reached to get an employment recommendation letter; it is safe to conclude that their potential employer wants someone competent, trustworthy, and in the professional sector to substantiate what the job applicant claims to be true plus an additional evaluation of their habits and performance.
An employment recommendation letter plays a huge role and sometimes can be the determining factor in securing employment.
When the job application is highly competitive, and applicants have strong CVs or resume, interviewers or the hiring committee will be looking for that one thing to distinguish the applicants. However, the recommendation letter must be well-written.
A good employment recommendation letter is not simply achieved when directly written on paper. Therefore, writing should be preceded by certain steps. Below are things one should put into considerations before they start writing the employment recommendation.
Think carefully before saying yes
It is flattering to be asked to craft a recommendation letter of employment; however, this should not be the only reason one recommends the other. The recommender needs to ensure they are in a position and capacity to recommend the candidate. This is determined by the relationship or acquaintance between the recommender and the recommended. The employment recommendation is expected to be based on personal interactions, and if there was never that sort of relationship, it is best to decline the request kindly. However, if one is in a position to write an excellent recommendation letter, they should do so; people will usually reach out for one’s recommendation if they trust and highly regard them.
Talk to the employee first
Employment recommendation letters will vary from one situation to the other. It is unwise to assume that one knows all there is to know just because one has ever written an employment recommendation letter before. Job applications come with guidelines and specifications. Schedule a meeting with the candidate to discuss what they would like included in the recommendation letter and the job application requirements.
Note: The employment recommendation letter should be customized to fit the job requirements. For example, a quality like tech-savvy would not be quite befitting when recommending someone for a fashion model job.
The candidate knows better about the job and the company they are applying for. Having a conversation with them provides clarity and brings things one might not have considered to light. Some of the questions to ask as the recommender are as follows:
- When the applicant needs the recommendation letter
- The name of the hiring manager or should be addressed to a more general recipient (To Whom It May Concern)
- The applicant’s strongest skill and qualities
- The applicant’s interest in the job
- The applicant’s greatest accomplishment within the company
Examine employee’s job record
Since the employment recommendation letter is supposed to use examples to describe how the applicant fits the job description. Examination of the applicant’s employee records becomes vital. Look out for stand-out moments and exemplary performances during their tenure. If the applicant worked in the company a long time ago, examining their job record can help in remembering things one might have forgotten. Take note of information that can be included in the employment recommendation letter.
Recommendation Letter Format
A recommendation letter for employment is an official document, and as a result, it must be structured and presented as such. One might opt to use a template or write it from scratch. Regardless of the preferred option one chooses to take, the employment recommendation letter must be inclusive of several fundamental components.
The first component is the header which should appear at the top of the letter. The header should be structured like a formal business letter. The sender, the recipient, contact information, and the date must be declared. The company must be present, but it must also specify to whom the letter is being sent (the hiring manager). A standard header will look like the one below:
Jim Clarke, Hotel Manager,
Big Seven Hotel,
1005 12th Street,
Washington, WA 1234
March 25, 2021
Denise Hive, Hiring Manager,
3321 Palm Street,
Texas, TX 5678
Tip: The company letterhead can be used too.
If the employee recommendation letter is to be issued via email (email reference), the subject will typically be the first component. It should indicate the name of the person being recommended (the candidate).
A recommendation letter for employments requires a salutation to the recipient of the letter. Letters addressed to a specific persona, and those written for general reference have different salutations.
For personal reference, address the person accordingly by their name and appropriate title.
Dear Dr. Hunninghan, or Dear Mrs. Brooks,
General reference letters should be addressed to “To Whom I May Concern.”
The body of the employment recommendation letter should follow the salutation. The body of the letter begins with identifying the applicant being recommended and a description of how the recommender knows the applicant. The introduction should also declare how long the recommender has known the applicant and justify why they are qualified to reference the candidate.
This letter is written to recommend Ana Bridge for the administrative assistant position at King & Jones Micro-finance and Investments. Ana was my secretary for more than one and a half years between October 2018 and July 2020 at Gates Foundation. We had a very cordial working relationship, and other staff members and I were glad to have her on our team.
Applicant’s skills and strengths
The next paragraph of the body of the recommendations is used to market the candidate by highlighting the qualities that would make them stand out and more suitable for the position. Skills and strengths are observable and must have identified a couple during the candidate’s tenure. There should be a connection between the indicated skills and the requirements of the job they are applying for.
A few qualities to consider include:
- Social and leadership skills
- Respect of the chain of command
Gary is always up to date with new technology. This was a key factor in the annual sales increase of 25% recorded during the 3 years he worked for us. In addition, he takes initiative and is very creative, something I got to witness when I worked with him under the Reach Out Campaign in 2019. These are skills that would highly benefit Asani Technologies R&D department, with Gary at the forefront.
Particular examples to elaborate the skills
Next, the recommendation letter for employment should outline experiences that make the candidate an exceptional employee. Anecdotes and specific achievements can be used to demonstrate the applicant’s suitability.
Mrs. Olsen is a good orator and a very likable character. In May 2020, with the emergence of COVID 19, our investors were nervous due to the impacts of the newly introduced movement restrictions on our revenue. This led to some disagreements during the quarterly progress meeting, and Mrs. Olsen being the facilitator, stepped up to bring calmness by giving a speech that saw our investors’ confidence in management and the company’s ability to adapt and make it through the tough times increase. She received the honor of Most Valued Employee for the year 2020 to that effect.
A concluding statement
Include a closing statement that summarizes why the candidate is suitable for the position in question. Reaffirm that the recommendation is being made without a doubt. An appreciation statement to the hiring manager should also be included as well as a notification of one’s availability for follow-up questions.
Mr.Winks will be a valuable addition to your team, and though a bit saddened by the fact that he is leaving us, it makes me happy to know that he is making progress in his career. I highly recommend Mr. Winks for the Systems Analyst position and consider him a worthwhile investment as an asset to your company.
I offer my appreciation for taking the time to review my letter. I am available for any additional questions you might have. Kindly let me know how I can be of any assistance.
The last components of the employment recommendation letter are the signing off and the signature. The letter should be finalized like a formal letter. It is also suggested that the recommender provides their contact information for any follow-up questions.
If the employment recommendation letter is being sent via email, this section can include the following;
Ohio, OH 2456
Employee Recommendation Letter Template
Your City, State Zip Code
Your Phone Number
High school name
City, State Zip Code
Dear Sir? Madam
I am writing to recommend ABC to your firm. I have been his supervisor for the last twelve years. Throughout this period, ABC has managed to be May’s best employee. His diligence in work is quite amazing.
Since he joined our team, he has achieved several achievements. He merely stated as a, but he is proudly leaving as a sales manager. In between the two positions, he has had several promotions as well as awards for the most performing employees.
I feel privileged to have worked with him. I am already feeling the impact of the gap he has created in my team through his desire to move to your firm. However, I feel he has done his best with me and the time has come he him to be productive in your firm too.
In case you need more information about him, kindly contact me. I will be glad to respond.
Employee Recommendation Letter Email Template
I write to recommend ABC to your firm as an accountant. I have worked with him for five years. Through this period, he has come out as one of the most performing employees in my firm. As his boss, I appreciate the work he has been doing.
ABC is a dedicated employee who does not mind reporting for his job early and leaving late. I have to confess that I have never seen a person who loves his career as he did. I hope he shall do the same in your firm.
Just in the five years, we have worked together, ABC has been awarded as the best employee on two occasions. He has also been promoted more than twice because of his job performance. If I had a chance to hold him back, I could have opted for that. However, I feel privileged to release the best employee to change the environment in other institutions too.
Feel free to contact me for more information about him.
Following are the customizable templates that can be downloaded for free:
Employee recommendation letter examples
Employee recommendation letter samples
Employee recommendation letter templates
Professional Tips for Writing
When writing a recommendation for employment, quality should be a key area of focus. As earlier mentioned, an employment recommendation letter can be the reason someone gets a job. Conversely, a poorly written employment recommendation letter has the opposite impact – it might cost the candidate the job. It is therefore important to have a well-written recommendation letter. To ensure this is possible, the following things are worth considering.
Be honest and professional
An employment recommendation letter is meant to “sell” the applicant to the potential employer, and sometimes, one might be tempted to lie or exaggerate the letter’s content to make this happen. As helpful as one wants to be, they should NOT do it. A recommendation letter should be about authenticity, and it is more of a statement of facts. Try to balance the letter with the applicant’s good qualities and some weaknesses. Employers appreciate that level of honesty.
Do not make an omission that would consequently influence the decision of the hiring manager. It is considered worse than giving a realistic description of a weak point.
Regardless of one’s relationship with the applicant or the potential new employer, an employment recommendation letter should be professional. Note that recommendation letters often go to the applicant’s file as official records. In addition, recommendation letters are letters of reference, for example, during promotion, and the last thing one would want is having an unprofessionally written recommendation letter lower their chances of being promoted.
Keep it positive
The recommendation letter for employment should channel positivity to the reader. They should be able to deduce the assurance in the recommender throughout the letter. Comments that might suggest doubt should be avoided.
The recommender should note that, if at all the applicant was not competent in their work, do not write a recommendation letter conveying the same to their new potential employer. Negative employment recommendation letters hold the possible risk of potential defamation lawsuits. In such a situation, avoid it all by tactfully and professionally declining to recommend the person.
Use business formal format and tone
Before proceeding to write the employment recommendation letter, first settle on the correct format to use. The most common one being the business format; however, some companies do have customized formats that they would like their documentation to be in; if this is the case, one should use it. The use of templates can also guide a person when writing a recommendation letter.
Keep the tone formal throughout the letter and be polite when making requests or issuing directives.
Discuss two or three qualifications
Including two or three major achievements of the candidate can boost their chances immensely. Make sure to support the claims with evidence; by citing specific examples.
Focus on the job description
Often, the applicant will provide a job description (their duties and responsibilities should they get the job). Try and relate the employment recommendation letter to the skills and qualities required to carry out the job successfully. One can look at the job listing and the applicant’s resume and think of ways to link the two.
Send email when appropriate
Sometimes an email reference is sufficient. Applicants will sometimes request an email reference due to either job application specifications or urgency. If they do, it is best to oblige. An email employment recommendation letter is written in the same business format with the omission of the header. The subject should declare who is being recommended and for which position.
Follow the request instructions
Job applications will always issue instructions of how recommendation letters should be written, submitted, and deadlines. Plan how to fulfill all these instructions as failure to do so can negatively reflect the ex-employee’s application status.
An employment recommendation letter is an opportunity for a recommender to help a former employee, colleague, student, or business associate to secure employment. If at all one can vouch for the candidate, they can use a recommendation letter to outline the skills, qualities, and experience that makes the applicant a suitable candidate for the job at hand. Employment recommendation letters should be kept honest and professional. If one is not comfortable recommending someone, it is best to decline the request rather than provide untrue information or negative comments about the applicant.