How to Write a Letter of Recommendation (24 Free Templates)

A letter of recommendation is a formal letter that vouches for an applicant’s work, skills, character traits, potential, and academic performance.

It is usually written by a supervisor, mentor, colleague, teacher, or friend. It outlines why a writer believes that you are a qualified candidate and what makes you the right fit for a role/position.

It can also be referred to as:

  • A reference letter
  • A letter of reference
  • A reference

There are various types; however, the following three types are common:

  • Employment recommendation letters
  • Recommendation letters for university applicants
  • Character recommendation letters

Letter Templates

Free Recommendation Letter for a Coworker 01 for Word

Editable Recommendation Letter for Business 01 for Word

Printable Recommendation Letter for Business 02 for Word

Editable Recommendation Letter for a Friend for Word

Printable Recommendation Letter for a Teacher 01 for Word

Free Recommendation Letter for a College Student 01 for Word

Editable Recommendation Letter for a Coworker 02 for Word

Free Recommendation Letter for a Student Applying for a Job for Word

Editable Recommendation Letter for a Student Applying to University for Word

Printable Recommendation Letter for Volunteer for Word

Free Recommendation Letter for College Student 02 for Word

Editable Recommendation Letter for a Coworker 03 for Word

Free Recommendation Letter for Customer Service Job for Word

Editable Recommendation Letter for Content Writer Job for Word

Printable Recommendation Letter for Sales Job for Word

Free Recommendation Letter for Web Designer for Word

Editable Recommendation Letter for a Teacher 02 for Word

Free Recommendation Letter for Graduate School 01 for Word

Editable Recommendation Letter for Graduate School 02 for Word

    Characteristics of Letter

    There are several distinguishable characteristics. These characteristics help ensure that the letter is effective in communicating its message to the recipient. They also help to ensure that it contains adequate information.

    The characteristics are:

    Powerfully advocate the job seeker

    This letter plays a vital role in advocating a job seeker’s skills and qualities as outlined in the CV or resume. This advocacy shows that the writer has a strong belief in the competence and abilities of a job seeker. It also helps boost a job seeker’s application, therefore, ensuring that the hiring manager develops a positive perception of the candidate.

    Add personality to a job application

    A letter of recommendation adds personality to a candidate’s job application. It achieves this by enabling a writer to breathe life into a candidate’s application through the details of the job applicant’s personality and work life. This is important as a hiring manager can see the job applicant as more than just the skills listed in the CV/resume.  It also shows how the applicant’s personality, skills, and capabilities are perceived by others, therefore, providing a separate viewpoint from the other candidates.

    Point out past achievements

    It also helps in pointing out a candidate’s past achievements.  This helps show the hiring manager that the job seeker can make similar achievements in the position they are seeking. It also provides the hiring manager with perspective into the ability of a job seeker to successfully carry out duties and responsibilities assigned.

    Help the job seeker get hired

    An important characteristic is that a strong letter that has been thoughtfully composed can help convince the hiring manager that the job seeker is the right fit for the job. This can lead to hiring the candidate or considering the applicant for an interview. This makes it essential for the writer to be specific about the details to ensure that the letter’s impact is significant on the hiring manager.

    It comes from a credible source

    It also ensures that a credible source references the candidate’s skills and abilities. Letters composed by family members are often perceived as biased due to the close relations and therefore have little to no bearing. However, a letter written by a supervisor, professor, or any individual with professional standing can significantly impact the opinions formed of the candidate by the hiring manager/recruiter.

    Use of supportive, positive, and enthusiastic language

    The use of supportive, positive, and enthusiastic language in a letter can help show that the writer wholeheartedly believes in a candidate. In addition, thoughtfully picking out adverbs and adjectives to include in the details provided can strengthen its impact on the hiring manager and help show that the writer has a strong belief in the applicant.

    It is specific and detailed

    What sets it apart from the CV/Resume is the specificity and detailing of its content. The writer should be able to provide proof of the details in the letter. The use of empty clichés can seem as though the writer doesn’t know the applicant very well.

    It contains a narrative

    The letter should feel like a well-composed narrative that explains who the letter’s writer is, the relationship they have with the applicant, and how they feel about the candidate. The recruiter should feel that a comprehensive story about the candidate’s ability and qualities has been provided. This helps ensure that this letter is coherent in its message.

    It is relevant to the applicant’s goals

    It should be relevant to the position the candidate is applying for. This helps the writer focus on the letter’s contents and ensure that the information is tailored to the candidate’s goals. Therefore, it plays an essential role in showing the hiring manager how your skills relate to the position you are seeking.

    How to Request for Letter of Recommendation

    There are several considerations that applicants should reflect on if they plan to request it from an individual. These considerations will ensure that they select an appropriate writer.

    This includes:

    How, when, and whom to ask?

    An applicant in need should understand how, when, and whom to ask. First, a requester may need this letter when or if the advertisement for the position states that it should be among the application documents. However, suppose the advertisement doesn’t state whether it is required, then the applicant can decide if it would be appropriate to request one to boost the application for the position.

    Secondly, the requester must identify the appropriate individual to ask. This could be a colleague, former manager, teacher, client, mentor, professor, etc. Requesters must select an individual who knows them well to ensure they can vouch for their skills and qualifications. They must also ensure that they have a positive relationship with the selected individual.

    Finally, the requester should understand how to ask the individual to write them a letter. Requesters must also ensure that they use polite language to explain their situation to the individual, provide them with an option to decline, and emphasize why they believe the person is appropriate or the best choice.

    They must then express how much they would be grateful if they agreed to write the letter. A request via email or in-person can be made. An in-person request would be best to provide a requester with an opportunity to convince the individual. The requester must ensure that they ask at least two weeks before the submission deadline.

    Provide complete information

    Suppose an individual agrees to write, they must be provided with appropriate documentation and information by the requester. This will enable the individual to provide relevant, specific, and detailed information.

    The following should be provided to the writer:

    A copy of your resume or CV

    The requester should provide the writer with a copy of his/her resume or CV. This will help make the writing process convenient by ensuring that the writer knows more about the requester. It will also enable the writer to tailor the information to the relevant skills and qualifications stated in the document.

    Your statement (if you’re a student)

    If the requester is a student, they must provide the writer with a personal statement explaining their purpose for applying for the position or why this opportunity is essential to them. This ensures that the writer understands why the position is so significant to the requester.

    The name of the target university or company

    The requestor should also provide the name of the target company or university. This will indicate where the letter will be sent, ensuring that it is delivered to the proper organization or institution. It will also help the writer discern if they are familiar with the target university or company and their standards.

    This will ensure that the writer can research the position or program to help him/her understand how to tailor the information.

    The personal strengths or characteristics you like them to focus on

    The requester must also provide strengths and personal characteristics they would like the writer to focus on. This will ensure that the recommendations focus on character traits likely to attract the hiring manager’s interest in the candidate. It will also provide the writer with focal attributes to relate to the position.

    Specific achievements you’d like them to mention

    The writer should be provided with specific achievements that the requester would like to mention in the letter. This ensures that achievements that may be considered significant by the hiring manager are mentioned in the letter. It will also help the writer establish which achievements are worth mentioning about the applicant.

    If You are a Recommender (Pre-Writing Considerations)

    It is crucial that an individual carefully considers a request to write a letter. This will ensure that the response provided to the requester is well thought out and considered.

    Considerations before writing

    There are several considerations that a writer should make before starting to write the letter. These considerations will help ease the writing process and enable the writer to provide the necessary information.

    The considerations a writer should make include:

    • Ask/collect the information from the applicant: The writer should request the applicant to provide the writer with relevant information concerning the position. This should include a copy of the job posting, the applicant’s resume/CV, and, if necessary, a copy of the candidate’s cover letter to help the writer discern how the applicant advertises their qualifications. Writers may also request applicants to provide them with their targets for the position, their marketable assets, and other examples of jobs they have applied for.
    • Conduct your research: The recommender should also consider conducting their research about the position and the institution or company the applicant is applying to. This will help the writer identify the requirements for the position and tailor the letter.
    • Think about the type of letter you are writing: The writer should consider the type of letter they will be writing. This will help them understand if it is for employment, internship, admission to an institution, etc. Understanding this will help ensure that the letter is appropriately suited to the type of application the candidate has made.

    When to decline a request and how?

    An individual can decline a request. Individuals can make this decision after considering how well they know the applicant, if they have worked with or directly observed a candidate’s qualities, if they know of any relevant skills and strengths they can include about the applicant in the letter, and if they can provide positive information about the candidate.

    Suppose a person feels that they cannot provide a positive recommendation of the applicant or cannot think of any qualities to indicate in the letter. In that case, they should politely inform the candidate early to enable them to find another writer.

    How to Write

    A step-by-step structured process should be followed. This will ensure that the letter is well constructed and that information is appropriately placed.  It will also ensure an effective professional letter is written.

    The following is a step-by-step process on how to write:

    Contact information and letterhead

    First, the letter should indicate the writer’s name, address, and contact information at the top left of the page. This will ensure that the recipient can identify who wrote it. The writer may also indicate this information on the letterhead at the top of the page.

    The date should also be provided, followed by the recipient’s name, his/her position in the institution/company, and the institution or company name and address. This ensures that the recipient has been identified.


    Daniel Adams,
    231Cornwell street
    New York, NY 1234

    March 6, 2020

    Elizabeth Samson
    Hiring Manager
    Braxton Corporation
    422 Jones Street
    New York, NY 465

    Polite and personal salutation

    Secondly, a polite and personal salutation addressing the recipient directly by name and title should be indicated. The generic term ‘To Whom It May Concern’ can only be used if the writer cannot identify the recipient by name.


    Dear Mr. Fisher,

    Start with a strong introduction

    The first paragraph should start with an enthusiastic statement. The writer must then establish how they know the applicant, their relationship, and the purpose of writing the letter. This information will help explain why the letter has been written and how the writer knows the applicant.

    It also helps show why the writer is the best person to be making the recommendation. Finally, the first paragraph should end with a few words of praise about the applicant.


    It is with honor that I recommend James Parker for the position of Director of Advertising at Braxton Corporation. James and I have been colleagues for seven years at Dexter Ltd, where he has been the lead graphic designer in the creative and marketing department.  I have observed how he has carried out his work with passion, determination, and patience in the last seven years.

    Body of the letter

    The letter’s body should contain information on an applicant’s traits and qualities along with their academic, personal, and professional achievements.  This will ensure that the writer can communicate the skills and capabilities they believe make the candidate the right fit. An explanation of the reason the applicant is departing from the current position may also be provided.

    This is optional information and should only be included in an employment letter. It should also only be included if the reasons for the departure are positive or neutral to ensure that the tone of the letter does not change.


    My experience working with him has been rather fun as he is very personable. James is very keen to ensure that he delivers the right product. As a recent analysis demonstrated, his brilliant and creative designs have had an incredible impact on our target audiences. At least 35% of our customers said they are attracted to our products by the incredible packaging and designs. Combining his experience and his bachelor’s degree in marketing, which he recently acquired to improve the quality of his work, makes him the best candidate for the job.


    The conclusion should reiterate the writers’ recommendation and encouragement for the hiring manager to accept the applicant. This will ensure that the writer can make a final appeal to the hiring manager to consider the applicant. Finally, the writer should politely sign off with words or phrases like sincerely, regards, yours indeed, etc., along with their signature and name at the bottom of the letter.


    I believe that James will be a great addition to your company given a chance, and therefore I wholeheartedly recommend him for the position. Please call me for any questions or clarifications you may need at the number and email above.

    [Writer’s Signature]
    Daniel Adams

    Format of a Letter

    The letter should be well formatted to ensure that the contents are readable. Formatting also ensures that the letter has an appropriate layout. The following are essential formatting rules that should be adhered to:

    Don’t exceed one page in length

    Recruiters must go through several letters and application documents; therefore, they appreciate concise and to-the-point letters. In addition, writing a one-page letter ensures that only specific relevant information is provided by limiting how much a writer can include.

    Use a 12-point font

    Using a 12-point font ensures that the document is easy to read and helps keep the letter within the length limit. The lowest font a writer can use is 11 points; anything lower than that can render the letter unreadable.

    Stick to basic font styles

    Classic font styles such as Times New Roman, Arial, Garamond, and Helvetica should be used when writing it. The use of highly stylized fonts can cause difficulty reading the letter and can seem unprofessional to the hiring manager.

    1”–1½” is the sweet spot for margins

    A margin of between 1”–1½” ensures enough white space around the margin to enable the information in the letter to fit. This also enhances the readability by ensuring that the information is appropriately compacted in an appropriate space.

    Maintain a left alignment

    The standard alignment of a document is left alignment. It ensures that the hiring manager can trace and find the start and end of the letter by creating a well-arranged look.

    Letter Samples

    Within this segment, you will find thoughtfully composed sample recommendation letters suitable for an array of situations. 

    For a Student

    Dear Dr. Helena Richardson,

    I am writing to wholeheartedly recommend Emily Carter for the undergraduate research program at your esteemed university. As Emily’s teacher at Oakwood High School, I have observed her exceptional academic and personal growth over the past two years. Emily exhibits a rare combination of intellectual curiosity, dedication, and creativity, making her stand out among her peers.

    Emily’s academic achievements are noteworthy. She consistently demonstrates a deep understanding of biological sciences, often contributing insightful perspectives in class. Moreover, her independent project on sustainable agriculture practices showcased not only her academic prowess but also her ability to work collaboratively and think critically.

    Beyond academics, Emily is actively involved in the school’s environmental club and debate team, displaying leadership and commitment. These activities have honed her interpersonal skills and fostered a strong sense of community responsibility. Her passion for environmental issues and her eloquence make her a valuable member of any team.

    In conclusion, I firmly believe that Emily Carter will be an asset to your program. Her dedication, intellect, and character are exemplary. Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information.


    Jonathan Smith

    Science Teacher, Oakwood High School

    For a Friend

    Dear Mr. Lucas Bennett,

    I am pleased to write this letter of recommendation for my friend, Alex Johnson, who is applying for the position of Community Manager at Green Leaf Innovations. Having known Alex for over five years, I can attest to his exceptional interpersonal skills, empathy, and dedication to community service.

    Alex’s ability to connect with people from diverse backgrounds is remarkable. He has volunteered extensively at local community centers, demonstrating a genuine commitment to understanding and addressing community needs. His initiatives, like the annual neighborhood clean-up drive, have significantly improved our local environment and fostered community spirit.

    In addition to his volunteer work, Alex’s professional experience as a customer relations specialist at TechSolutions Inc. has equipped him with excellent communication and problem-solving skills. He has consistently received praise for his ability to handle challenging situations with patience and understanding.

    Alex’s passion for community engagement, combined with his professional experience, makes him an ideal candidate for the Community Manager position. I am confident that he will bring the same level of dedication and excellence to Green Leaf Innovations.

    Best regards,

    Samantha Lee

    For Graduate School

    Dear Admissions Committee,

    I am writing to recommend Olivia Torres for your Master’s program in Environmental Science at the University of Sunridge. As her supervisor at EcoResearch Labs, I have been consistently impressed by her dedication, analytical skills, and passion for environmental conservation.

    During her time at EcoResearch Labs, Olivia played a key role in our project on coastal ecosystem preservation. Her ability to analyze complex data and present findings in a clear, concise manner was invaluable. She demonstrated a thorough understanding of environmental science principles and a keen ability to apply them in practical scenarios.

    Olivia’s commitment to continuous learning and professional development is evident from her participation in various workshops and seminars. She consistently seeks out opportunities to expand her knowledge and skills, which is a trait essential for success in graduate studies.

    I am confident that Olivia Torres will excel in your Master’s program. Her academic aptitude, combined with her practical experience, make her a perfect fit for your esteemed institution. Please do not hesitate to contact me for any further information.


    Dr. Michael Evans

    Lead Researcher, EcoResearch Labs

    For a Coworker

    To Whom It May Concern,

    It is with great pleasure that I recommend my coworker, Daniel Kim, for the position of Senior Analyst at Quantum Analytics. Having worked alongside Daniel for three years at DataCorp Solutions, I can vouch for his exceptional analytical skills, professionalism, and teamwork.

    Daniel’s contributions to our team have been substantial. His innovative approach to data analysis has significantly improved our project efficiency. For instance, his development of a predictive model for market trends not only enhanced our deliverables but also received recognition from our clients.

    His collaborative spirit and ability to communicate complex concepts clearly make him a valued team member. Daniel’s mentorship of junior analysts has fostered a positive and productive work environment. He consistently demonstrates a commitment to excellence and a willingness to go above and beyond to achieve team goals.

    Daniel Kim’s expertise, work ethic, and team spirit make him an ideal candidate for the Senior Analyst position at Quantum Analytics. I am confident that he will make a significant contribution to your team.

    Best regards,

    Emily Harris

    Project Manager, DataCorp Solutions

    For Immigration

    To the Immigration Officer,

    I am writing to support the application of Mr. Alex Martinez for immigration. As his employer at Global Enterprises for the past five years, I have known Alex to be a hardworking, honest, and reliable individual.

    Alex’s contributions to our company have been invaluable. His expertise in marketing and business development has played a crucial role in expanding our international client base. He is highly respected among his peers for his professionalism and commitment to excellence.

    Beyond his professional achievements, Alex is a devoted family man and an active member of our community. He volunteers regularly at local events and has been instrumental in organizing charity drives for various causes. His positive attitude and willingness to help others have earned him the admiration and respect of everyone he interacts with.

    I firmly believe that Alex will be a valuable addition to your country. His skills, work ethic, and character are exemplary, and I have no doubt that he will contribute positively to society.


    Linda Thompson

    CEO, Global Enterprises


    The provided sample recommendation letters serve as useful guides for anyone looking to write similar letters due to several key strengths in their composition and structure. 

    The key aspects of these sample recommendation letters that stand out are their clear structure, specific content, and formal yet personal tone. Each letter is structured into four well-defined paragraphs, offering a logical flow from an introduction through detailed discussion to a strong conclusion. This structure aids in presenting information in a clear and organized manner. 

    The content of each letter ensures that it addresses the unique qualities and experiences relevant to each scenario. This approach not only personalizes the letter but also gives it a compelling and persuasive quality. The writers adeptly blend professional and personal insights, providing specific examples of achievements, skills, and character traits that make the candidate stand out. Such details not only bolster the credibility of the recommendation but also give a vivid sense of the individual’s capabilities and personality. The tone of these letters strikes a balance between formal professionalism and personal warmth, which is essential in recommendation letters. This tone conveys respect for the recipient while also expressing genuine enthusiasm and support for the candidate. 

    The writers’ confidence in the candidates, expressed in the conclusion paragraphs, adds a layer of trustworthiness and conviction to the recommendations. 

    Collectively, these aspects make these letters excellent models for crafting effective and impactful recommendations, guiding individuals in highlighting the best qualities of the person they are recommending.

    Tips for Writing

    Various tips should be considered when setting a letter of recommendation. These tips will help increase the chances of an applicant a positive response from the recruiter. They will also help ensure that the letter stands out from those submitted by others.

    The tips include the following:

    Customize the letter to the job at hand

    The letter should be tailored to the requirements and qualities of the job/position the applicant is seeking. By mentioning the name of the position and company and relating the candidate’s qualities to the job, the writer can show why the applicant is the right fit.

    Use 2-3 specific examples

    A writer must ensure that they provide 2-3 specific examples to support the qualities and qualifications mentioned. This strengthens the message of the letter and helps prove that the writer and applicant are well acquainted.

    Speak to the candidate

    The writer should ensure that they spoke with the candidate to gain insight into the applicant’s position and goal related to it or the company and why this is important. This will ensure that the writer can draft a letter from an informed position. It also ensures that the contents of the letter complement the candidate’s application information.

    Explain why your opinion matters

    It should also explain why the writer’s opinion matters. For example, writers with a professional working relationship with candidates are taken more seriously than family members. In addition, it is believed that they provide an objective point of view of the applicant. Therefore, their opinion is a genuine observation of the applicant.

    Start with enthusiasm

    Starting the letter with an enthusiastic statement helps capture the reader’s attention and demonstrates the writer’s confidence. In addition, this helps form a good impression on the recruiter about the application from the onset.

    Keep it positive

    Comments or statements that are constructed in a bad light should be avoided. This is to avoid discrediting a candidate’s application for the position. The information provided should therefore be positive.

    Use a standard business letter tone

    Using a standard business tone will help reflect the writer positively, enabling the reader to perceive them as a professional. It also helps show the writer’s positive attitude towards the recruiter. The use of business tone helps the writer relate better with the recruiter’s interests and emotions, making the correspondence stronger, therefore impactful and beneficial for the applicant.

    Focus on the most critical qualifications

    The letter should focus on important qualifications that are likely to pick the recruiter’s interest in the applicant. The writer can identify necessary qualifications by reviewing the job posting to determine what the recruiter is looking for in a candidate.

    Follow the request instructions

    The specific submission guidelines indicated by the recruiter should be carefully analyzed and followed by a writer. This, therefore, means that it should be submitted by the deadline stipulated in the job posting. This will also contribute to forming a good impression on the recruiter.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How does a person write a recommendation letter?

    Applicants planning to write their letter of recommendation should outline and highlight their strengths, abilities, and skills. They must then ensure they write the letter in the recommender’s voice; therefore, writers must refer to themselves in the third person. Next, they must state the purpose of the letter and the capacity their reference knows about them. Finally, they must ensure that comparative metrics of their achievements support all the relevant highlighted skills.

    What details should be included in a letter of recommendation?

    This letter should include a writer’s recommendation, what position the candidate is applying for, the type of relationship the writer shares with the applicant, the length of the relationship, and a description of the referee’s skills, traits, and qualifications.

    What is the appropriate format for a letter of recommendation?

    A letter of recommendation should start with the sender’s name and address, the date, and the recipient’s name and address. It should be followed by a salutation that addresses the recipient directly. Next, the introduction, body, and conclusion should be written. Finally, the writer should sign off with an appropriate phrase or word and sign the letter.

    How does a person write a personal recommendation letter?

    A personal letter of recommendation should start with the name and address of the writer, the date, and the recipient’s name, title, company /institution name, and address. It should then indicate the name of the candidate and the position they are being recommended for. Next, the writer should describe the capacity in which they know the applicant and the length or period they have been acquainted with. Finally, the writer should mention the qualities of the applicant and his/her character, morals, and values in detail.

    How does one end a personal reference letter?

    Depending on the contents of the introduction and the body of the personal reference letter, the writer should end by stating whether they recommend the applicant for the position. Appreciation for the recipients’ time should also be indicated, along with an offer to answer any questions they may have.

    About This Article

    Zhaniece Hill
    Authored by:
    Human Resources Specialist | Masters of Business, MBA, BAS Operations Management and Supervision
    Zhaniece Hill, an accomplished author, and writer, possesses an extensive 9-year journey as a seasoned Human Resources professional. With a Master's degree in Business Administration, Hill's profound insights into human capital management have been shaped by a diverse background spanning public and private sectors. Expertise in talent acquisition, onboarding, employee engagement, and benefits define Hill's remarkable HR acumen. With an unyielding focus on results, Hill's legacy is characterized by innovative HR solutions that elevate employee satisfaction, retention, and overall business performance. Continuously seeking fresh challenges, Zhaniece Hill utilizes her expertise to create a lasting impact in the realm of HR.

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