20+ Samples of Recommendation Letters (and Writing Tips)

What is the Recommendation Letter? A letter of recommendation is a document that specifically describes a person’s abilities, capabilities, and proficiency toward his job. A recommendation letter is needed for any kind of employment. It could be any type like Personal Recommendation Letter, Professional, Academic or as a reference for a job.

Where does the Recommendation Letter Use?

A common requirement on job applications, applications for programs of study, and even for higher positions within a company or organization, recommendation letters sometimes make or break a candidate and their chances at that for which they are applying. While there are thousands of templates online to assist, knowing the basic content is often more helpful in writing a successful letter as those thousands of templates are constantly used again and again. A well-written recommendation letter must have a personal touch to it that lets those reviewing it know the time was taken and care was given when writing the letter. Within each, there are certain criteria that will make a letter stand out from the rest and thereby give the candidate a better chance.

Basic Contents of Recommendation Letters

A recommendation letter follows the same general formatting as a professional business or cover letter. There should be a company heading or letterhead at the very top of the letter. One space below the heading is the date written out in the correct formatting style for the country of residence. Following that should be the name of the recipient, program/organization, formal address, phone number, and fax, if pertinent. If an email is available, that should also be provided. Two spaces down will be the information of the person making the recommendation in the same format as the information above. One space down is a cordial greeting of the recipient. It is important that the person asking for the letter finds out the name of the recipient or the person to whom it will be given (ATTN: xxx).

The body of the recommendation letter should clear three points in detail. First, there should be a description of the relationship between the sender and the individual who is being recommended. Second, there should be a description of that person with an example of their skills/techniques all centered around the needs/desires of the program, business, etc., for whom the letter is being written. Finally, the letter should end with a strong affirmation such as, “Because of his/her skills xxx, I believe [name] is the right candidate for xxx.” Feel free to explain a little more in detail about why this person should be recommended?

Difference Between Recommendation Letter and Reference letter

The main difference between recommendation letters and reference letters is that a recommendation is more focused and specific whereas reference letters are the general letter of a candidate’s skills and abilities. Recommendation letters usually cannot be re-used whereas referrals are created to be reused time and time again. Who is supposed to write a recommendation letter? Because of the personal nature, these letters should be written by someone who has extensive background knowledge of the candidate in the area for which he/she is applying. It does more harm to have a letter written by someone who has never worked with the candidate or has limited knowledge of him/her.

Tips to write a professional recommendation letter

The best tip for writing this kind of letter is to imagine yourself in the shoes of the reader and ask, “what would I want to read?” Essentially, you should write the kind of letter you would want to read. A second important tip is that not all letters are meant to be positive. If you are asked to write the letter for which you do not feel the candidate should be recommended, it is important, to be honest.

Different Kinds of Recommendation Letters

Not all recommendation letters will be the same as they fit the focused need of the recommendation itself. For example,

Sample Employment Recommendation Letters

Employment Recommendation Reference Letter will focus more on the job for which the candidate is applying and if he/she possesses the skills and experience to carry out the job.

Employment Recommendation Reference Letter



Sample Personal Recommendation Letters

Personal Recommendation Letter focuses on the personality and characteristics of the candidate and it is much personal than others.

Personal Recommendation Letter:



Sample Academic Recommendation Letters

Academic Recommendation Letters discuss work ethic and educational experience. Professional Recommendation Letter is like personal recommendations but written in a more formal perspective about the candidate as a professional in his/her field.

Academic Recommendation Letters



Sample Business Recommendation Letters

Business Recommendation Letters can either represent a whole entity such as a company, or they can focus on a candidate in a business setting and how he/she is equipped for the job.

Business Recommendation Letters




Sample Promotion Recommendation Letters

Promotion Recommendation Letters are a declaration of why a candidate should be receiving an increase in pay or promotion and a general Reference Recommendation takes a little bit from almost all of the other letters above creating a generically formulated letter for multiple uses.

Promotion Recommendation Letters