Personal Recommendation Letter (25+ Sample Letters and Examples)

Writing a personal recommendation letter

A personal recommendation letter is a letter of reference written by a recommender that can give insight into an applicant’s personal attributes and traits.

A personal recommendation letter is also known as a character reference letter or a personal reference letter.

A personal recommendation letter is used to help strengthen an individual’s application for a job position, organization, or school admission through a recommender’s endorsement of the applicant’s positive attributes, morals, and values.

Types of Personal Recommendation Letters

There are 3 basic types of personal recommendation letters. Each one is written for a specific purpose.

  • Academic Recommendation Letter: Academic letters of recommendation are used by students applying for admission to a school. Review committees use these letters to get an idea about certain aspects of a candidate’s personality that cannot be assessed in the college application.
  • Employment Recommendation Letter: Potential employers may sometimes request an employment recommendation letter in addition to the usual resume/CV, cover letter, and portfolio. These personal recommendation letters are usually written by previous employers or co-workers and are considered useful when the applicant does not have much experience under their belt.
  • Character Recommendation Letter: The character recommendation letter is used when someone is in the process of providing specific information regarding someone’s character. You may be required to provide one if you are considering adopting a child, pet, or submit it to a prospective landlord. The person chosen to write this letter depends on what you’re needing it for. For instance, if one is required before you can rent a certain apartment, then your letter should be composed by a previous landlord, if possible.

When Are Personal Reference Letters Used?

Personal reference letters are used to give individuals that little bit of added boost to their school application, job application, or situations where a more in-depth description of a person’s character is required, such as renting an apartment or proving an individual has leadership skills. Below are some of the situations which often require a personal letter of recommendation:

  • Child adoption: Some adoption agencies may request adopting parents to acquire a personal recommendation letter to help get to know more about them.
  • Pet adoption: Pet adoption agencies can also request a personal recommendation letter from a candidate to help establish whether the individual will be a responsible pet owner.
  • Apartment rental: A landlord can request potential tenants for a personal recommendation letter from their neighbors or previous landlord to help understand what kind of tenant the candidate is.
  • Scholarship programs: Some scholarship programs may request a personal recommendation letter from a student’s teacher or professor to help them understand the kind of student the candidate will be.

Pre-Writing Considerations

A personal recommendation letter must effectively communicate the applicant’s personality from the recommender’s positive perspective. Therefore, it is important that the recommender make certain considerations such as the nature of the relationship shared with the applicant, before writing a personal recommendation letter.

Who can write a personal recommendation letter?

A personal recommendation letter should be written by individuals who can attest to an applicant’s personality, skills, and abilities.  Teachers, business acquaintances, clients, friends etc. can write a personal recommendation letter.

It is advised that a family member does not write the personal recommendation letter as they are biased toward the applicant.

Things to ask the applicant before writing

The recommender should consider requesting the applicant to provide him/ her with information regarding the skills and qualities required for the position, for example, if a candidate is applying for a job position as an assistant the recommender should mention the candidate’s organizational skills in the personal recommendation letter.  A recommender who takes the time to find out the qualities required for the position will seem more professional from the recipient’s perspective. Following are the things to ask the applicant for writing a better personal recommendation letter:

  • Resume, if required
  • The deadline for the letter to be completed
  • What information you can provide which will help the applicant
  • Why they selected you to compose the letter
  • Any character traits, achievements, etc. relevant to the purpose
  • Ask for any submission instructions
  • Applicant’s GPA
  • Lists of any papers they have had published
  • Applicant’s awards, activities, and achievements
  • Volunteer or internship experience

Other considerations

The recommender must share good relations with the applicant he/she is writing the personal recommendation letter for. Writing negative statements about the applicant can discourage the recipient from considering them as a potential candidate for the position.

The recommender must also ensure that he/she knows the applicant well enough. The relationship between the recommender and the applicant will often be reflected in the details written in the personal recommendation letter.

A recommender writing a personal recommendation letter for a school or a scholarship for a candidate should ensure that the recommendation letter demonstrates the applicant’s positive qualities as a student.

Writing Personal Recommendation Letter

A recommender should ensure that the personal recommendation letter directly speaks to the qualities of the applicant. The personal recommendation letter should focus on what enables the applicant to perform his/her job effectively. The recommender helps the recipient decide whether the applicant is a good fit for the position on offer.

No matter what type of personal recommendation letter you are writing, it should contain 3 basic elements. First, you should compose a sentence or paragraph which briefly describes your connection to this person and your relationship. Next, provide the necessary information on their character. Depending on the type of letter, it may be work ethics, academic achievements, or skills. Back these up with examples. Finally, conclude the letter by explaining why you think this individual would suit the situation.

It is therefore important that the personal recommendation letter includes the following information:

Addresses of the recommender and recipient

The recommender of a personal recommendation letter should state both his/her name and mail address and that of the recipient.

For example:

Mary Adams
453 Maker’s Lane
San Jose, CA90090

January 10, 2018

Andrew Baker
347 Conwell Street
New York, NY 3467

Salutation

The recommender of a personal recommendation letter should follow up by including a salutation that specifies the name of the recipient. Suppose the recommender is writing a general letter he/she can address it ‘To whom it may concern’.

Example of a specific salutation:

Dear Mr. Andrew,

Relation with the applicant

The recommender should start the personal recommendation letter by explaining how he/she knows the applicant. The personal recommendation letter should establish what kind of relationship the recommender and applicant share to provide the recipient with context as to why the writer is best suited to recommend the candidate.

For example:

I am honored to be writing this recommendation letter for Mary Adams for a position as an assistant at your organization. Mary and I are co-workers at Gin Tec Limited. We have worked together for 15 years.

Thomas Jenkins has been employed by me as my personal assistant from January 2016 to the present. I hereby recommend him without qualification to your real estate program. I strongly believe that he will be an asset to your program with regard to his ability to communicate and instruct others.

Length of time the recommender has known the applicant

Secondly, the recommender should state the length of time that he/she has known the applicant which could be weeks, months, or years. The length of time the recommender states in the personal recommendation letter informs the recipient of how well acquainted he/she is with the applicant. The longer the period, the more reliable the recipient will consider the information in the personal recommendation letter to be.

For example:

I have known and worked with Mary for 15 years. In that time, I have watched her grow into a determined hardworking, and resilient individual. Mary has displayed communication skills, time management, and good listening skills.

Examples of applicant’s qualities

The recommender should then state the applicant’s qualities in relation to the requirements for the position and examples that demonstrate how the applicant has made use of them. The use of relevant examples strengthens the impact of the personal recommendation letter on the recipient by demonstrating how he/she can make use of the qualities.

The qualities stated and their examples should positively highlight the applicant’s best attributes. It is also essential that the recommender’s use of examples make the applicant stand out. For example, if the applicant is applying for a job as an EMT, provide an instance where his/her attention to detail resulted in them saving a life.

For example:

John demonstrated his attention to detail in the winter of 2017 when a building collapsed in downtown Manhattan and one of the survivors claimed it is okay. He noticed there was bruising around the survivor’s navel area. The doctors said that had the patient not sought treatment he would have died within hours.

During his employment, he has proved himself by organizing open houses, handling various office duties, and securing leads for our company. He is creative, industrious, and dedicated. He has also contributed to meetings, offering sound ideas which assisted us in meeting our goals.

Throughout his stay, he utilized his soft skills, helping us close several important real estate deals. He has also ventured into dealing with contractors with regard to property development with great success. He initiated and coordinated several projects, as well as organized our annual charity functions.

Add the statement of recommendation

The recommender should summarize the personal recommendation letter by re-establishing the qualities he/she has stated earlier and officially recommending the applicant for the position. The official recommendation made by the recommender demonstrates his/her confidence in the abilities of the applicant.

For example:

I undoubtedly guarantee that Mary’s communication skills and attention to detail will make her a great addition to your organization. It is for this reason that I recommend her for a position as an assistant in your organization.

Thomas is an individual that has performed all duties with integrity and devotion, often putting himself last, and the project first. Working next to Thomas has been a good experience, and I believe that he will be an excellent addition to your Real Estate program.

Conclude properly

This final section contains your own contact information, such as phone numbers, professional emails. Here, you’re backing up everything you stated by giving the recipient an opportunity to speak with you personally.

For example:

It’s been my personal pleasure to recommend Mr. Jenkins for this position. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at 555-555-2893, or [email protected], and I’ll be more than happy to assist you in addressing any queries you may have.

Personal Letter of Recommendation Example

Roger M. Cray

321 W. Cherry Lane

San Jose, CA 90090

555-555-2898

[email protected]

 

December 13, 2018

 

Sarah Peterson

345 Cromwell St.

New York, NY 14444

 

Re: Personal Recommendation Letter: Thomas Jenkins

 

Dear Ms. Peterson:

Thomas Jenkins has been employed by me as my personal assistant from January 2016 to the present. I hereby recommend him without qualification to your real estate program.

During his employment, he has proved himself by organizing open houses, handling various office duties, and securing leads for our company. He is creative, industrious, and dedicated. He has also contributed to meetings, offering sound ideas which assisted us in meeting our goals.

Throughout his stay, he utilized his soft skills, helping us close several important real estate deals. He has also ventured into dealing with contractors with regard to property development with great success. He initiated and coordinated several projects, as well as organized our annual charity functions.

Thomas is an individual that has performed all duties with integrity and devotion, often putting himself last, and the project first. Working next to Thomas has been a good experience, and I believe that he will be an excellent addition to your Real Estate program.

 

It’s been my personal pleasure to recommend Mr. Jenkins for this position. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at 555-555-2893, or [email protected], and I’ll be more than happy to assist you in addressing any queries you may have.

Sincerely,

Roger M. Cray

Free Templates & Samples

Following are the samples of personal recommendation letters for better understanding and templates that can be customized as per need:

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    Professional Tips for Writing

    Writing a personal recommendation letter is a big responsibility. The recommender of a personal recommendation letter should be effective in communicating the applicant’s qualities. The information contained in the personal recommendation letter should be enough to elicit consideration of the applicant by the recipient. It is, therefore, important the recommender consider the following tips when he/she decides to write the personal recommendation letter:

    • Think before saying yes: The recommender of a personal recommendation letter ought to have no reservation regarding the applicant he/she is writing about. The recommender of a personal recommendation letter should decline a request to write a recommendation for an applicant that is not well known to him/her.

      The recommender of a personal recommendation letter should ensure that he/she can write a referral that depicts his/her confidence in the applicant. Suppose the recommender cannot, then he/she should politely advise the applicant to find someone else who can write a recommendation that does not jeopardize consideration for the position by the recipient.
    • Know the deadline: The recommender of a personal recommendation letter should find out the deadline for the submission of all applications. This will enable that recommender to find out how long he/she must write the personal recommendation letter.

      Suppose that the recommender feels that he/she cannot write the personal recommendation letter in time for the submission deadline, then he/she should inform the applicant to provide them with enough time to find someone else to write the letter.
    • Be honest: The information provided by the recommender of a personal recommendation letter should be honest. Honesty by the recommender indicates that he/she is a credible individual and that the recipient should trust his/her recommendation. Writing an honest personal recommendation letter that is not full of exaggerated details also reflects positively on the applicant.
    • Focus on positive qualities: The recommender of a personal recommendation letter should focus on the uplifting qualities of the applicant. Stating the applicant’s positive qualities can help the applicant stand out from other candidates.

      Focusing on the positive qualities of the applicant will also help strengthen the applicant’s resume. It is especially helpful for inexperienced applicants who are applying for a position for the first time.
    • Keep it brief: It is advisable that the recommender of a personal recommendation letter ensure that it does not exceed one page. The recipient of the personal recommendation letter is probably dealing with applications from many candidates; therefore, he/she will be inclined to skip a lengthy recommendation.

    Remember: A brief personal recommendation letter will save time for both the recipient and the recommender.

    • Avoid getting personal: The personal recommendation letter should not provide intimate details about the struggles the applicant has undergone.  Intimate details about the applicant can make the recipient feel uncomfortable while reading the personal recommendation letter.

      The information provided by the recommender should be relevant to the position the applicant is seeking. A recommender that provides a candidate’s personal information is also viewed as unprofessional and therefore an unreliable reference.
    • Be polite and professional: The recommender of a personal recommendation letter should be polite and professional. The recommender should avoid aggressive language because a recipient will not respond well to it, resulting in a negative impact on the candidate’s application.

      The recommender can demonstrate professionalism by written the personal recommendation letter in the official business letter format. The recommender can also send the recommendation via email if he/she is on a tight deadline.
    • Focus on relevant information: The information contained in the personal recommendation letter should be relevant. The recommender of a personal recommendation letter should not get carried away by unnecessary details that add no value to a candidate’s application.

      Irrelevant information that has nothing to do with the position can still damage a candidate’s application regardless of its positive focus on the applicant.
    • Include the contact information: The recommender should include an offer to answer any question or provide further information about the applicant by providing his /her contact information; an email address and a phone number, that the recipient can use to reach him/her.
    • Proofread and edit the recommendation letter: The recommender of a personal recommendation letter should ensure that he/she proofreads the letter to avoid seeming unprofessional if the recipient comes across grammatical errors.

    Also a few quick tips for personal recommendation letter:

    • Keep it professional and make no mention of personal relationships
    • Absolutely no gossip or mention of anything that could hinder the person from obtaining their goal
    • Stay truthful and accurate. Don’t include false praise or traits that the individual cannot live up to
    • Always keep copies of each and every letter you’ve sent
    • Never wait until the last moment for writing the letter

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I end a personal reference letter?

    A recommender can end a personal recommendation letter by summarizing previously established qualities about the applicant and stating his/her official recommendation. The recommendation for the position should be straightforward and to the point.

    Does a letter of recommendation need a date?

    Yes, a recommendation letter should have a date identifying when the letter was written. The date of the personal recommendation letter should be written after the recommender’s name and address.

    What is the standard length of a personal recommendation letter?

    A personal recommendation letter should be one page. The letter should be brief and to the point.

    How can I write a strong personal recommendation letter?

    A strong recommendation letter should have a formal tone because the recommender and the recipient are not well known to one another. Also, a good personal recommendation letter should be chronologically written to ensure it is an easy read for the recipient.

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