A recommendation letter, also known as a reference letter is a letter that vouches for a specific individual based on their qualification or capability to perform a given task. A recommendation letter comes in handy when applying for a job, college, or some government services. Recommendation letters play a crucial role in communicating and revealing certain critical information about an individual. The letter provides insight into an individual’s skills and character. The letter also helps the hiring managers get a better view of the person and their potential to succeed further.
Importance of Reference Letters
- Recruiters and hiring managers always look at the recommendation letters, apart from your resume and the interview, to be able to have a general overview of a person’s skills and qualification’s and to gain more knowledge from an outside person
- A reference letter provides information about the candidate’s past experiences and expertise in handling the day-to-day activities and how beneficial they shall be for the future organization.
- A reference letter also tells us about a person’s character.
Features of a Recommendation Letter
- The letter should be from a reputable source
- The source must have a complete understanding of the persons, skills experiences and personal details
- The letter must be tailored according to the job position you are applying for
- The referee should use positive remarks and supportive language for the candidate
What Should be Included in a Recommendation Letter?
It is crucial to provide the referee with your resume, curriculum vitae, transcripts, and any other materials available at your disposal to help them in writing the letter of recommendation that will best describe you. You can also include a brief description of the position for which you are applying and a general overview of the company. The letter should be more than one or two paragraphs; otherwise, the reader may insinuate that the referee either dos not know you well or does not fully endorse you.
The referee should introduce themselves in the first couple of lines of the letter and, in a brief sentence, explain their relationship with the candidate. It is essential to note down the duration to which the referee and the candidate have known each other. The next sentences should confirm any facts about employment history, such as:
- The duration in which the candidate worked with the referee
- The candidate’s achievements, job title, and roles within the organization
- The job status, e.g., full-time, part-time, temporary, current
The next paragraph should provide judgment upon the candidate’s skills and qualities and should single out any outstanding qualities that the candidate has. The letter should describe the skills, experiences ad qualities that relate to the specific job opportunity.
Difference Between a Standard Letter of Recommendation And a Character Reference Letter
- Standard letter of recommendation: A standard letter of recommendation discusses the work performance, experiences, skills, candidate’s personality, punctuality, job performance, teamwork, work ethic, and abilities that the applicant has acquired, which best qualify you for a specific job position.
- Character Reference: A character reference letter discusses a person’s character, personality, and overall abilities. It does not, however, provide any details about the candidate’s previous employment. A character reference letter focuses on the general overview of the traits and abilities without specific reference to the needs of the position.
Do Recommendation Letters Matter?
When applying for a job or college, every aspect of the application matters, including the recommendation letters. The recommendation letter helps to provide a general overview of who you are. However, having a recommendation letter does not guarantee that you will get a job. However, it only increases your chances of being considered compared to someone who doesn’t have one.
Who to Ask If You’re Requesting a Reference Letter?
Before asking anyone to write you a recommendation letter, you must consider the kind of relationship you’ve had with them over the years. Choose someone you believe will paint you in a positive light, and would be equally invested in your success.
If you are applying to a college, consider reaching out to your previous teachers, professors, or supervisors whom you may have worked with at the school. If the reference letter is to be used for a job application, consider reaching out to your previous manager, colleagues, or mentors to help you out. Most people won’t have a problem writing you a recommendation letter. However, in some cases, they could feel pressed for time and ask you to write your letter and sign their name.
How And When To Ask
It is recommended to have a recommendation letter with you as you may never know when you will need it, especially when you are on a job hunt. It would be best if you asked for a recommendation letter when you are moving to a new school or applying for a new job opportunity.
You can decide to either send a letter to the person or make a face to face visit and ask them to write you a reference letter. Explain to them why you need the letter and how the letter will benefit you. When choosing the person to write your reference letter, you should clarify specific points to enable them to understand how you will contribute to the school or organization if accepted.
What Can You Do To Help?
If the referee has agreed to write you a recommendation letter, you must provide them with more information about yourself, your goals, and your accomplishments. Even if the person writing the letter already knows who you are, it would be best if you provided them with some details to help them in writing the letter.
You can provide the referee with as much or as little information about yourself as you like. You can also attach and send them a copy of your resume if you have one. You may also write to inform them why you chose them in the first place. It is recommended to have a quick meeting with your referee to go over some of the details in person. In as much as writing them down would help, going through the details in person would be much better as you would be able to explain some points they may need clarifications on.
How to Write a Recommendation Letter
A recommendation letter typically comprises three sections: the introduction, body, and conclusion. The letters are usually brief and to the point. The more the referee knows about the candidate, the more they can write about them.
- Introduction: This paragraph introduces the candidate, the referee, and the relationship between the two. It also includes the position for which the candidate is applying, together with the reason behind the referee’s recommendation.
- Body: The body includes an explanation of the candidate’s skills, achievements, and qualifications. The referee should provide enough details to support the claims, thereby assuring the reader that the letter comes from an authentic source. The referee can include the strength and competitive skills relevant to the position the candidate is applying for.
- Conclusion: To conclude the letter, the referee should write their final thoughts concerning the applicant’s qualifications and achievements. Other than these details, the referee should also provide their contact information should the reader wish to contact them for any clarifications with regards to the details provided in the letter.
Template: Standard Letter For Recommendation
City, postal code
City, postal code
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to strongly recommend XXX (name of the applicant) for the advertised position xxx (job title) at XXX (name of the company). XXX and I have gone to the same university, and we have attended many classes together and worked out many assigned together. During this entire period, I have gotten a chance to know XXX abilities skills, and characters.
On almost all occasions, xxx has been the cheerleader to our basketball games, Christian union groups, and also our project groups.
Recently, XXX performed a role of a XXX (the task is given) in one of our local branches .xxx organized all the events, meetings, and conferences, receiving the boss phone calls, booking and making travel arrangements for the director among other administrative roles
I am confident that XXX will be an excellent fit for your staff. With the candidate’s relentless motivation, organizational skills, and being able to work under pressure, XXX will bring a wealth of skills, experiences, and knowledge to your XXX (name of the company).
If you have any inquiries concerning the above person, I will be extremely happy to discuss it with you.
Sample: Standard Letter For Recommendation
Sample Standard Letter For Recommendation
2598 Dakota Street, Virginia.
P.O BOX 219 6494
Dear Joel Bieber (Manager),
It is my pleasure to honor and recommend Suzanne Miguel for the Human Resource Assistant position.
I am Roseline Rahma, director at Unilever, Dodoma branch, where I worked with Suzanne as an intern for two years, where she uniquely stood out. During this period, Suzanne used her great talents, skills, and experience to carry out her assigned tasks to deliver spectacular results. I am confident that Suzanne’s professional experience, personal skills, and abilities will be a valuable asset at ShopIt Company. Within this period, her understanding and ability to carry out administrative tasks such as bookkeeping, customer service skills outgrew her among her peers.
As an intern, Suzanne demonstrated excellent communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal, she was organized, completed her tasks without the need to be asked through multi-tasking and creative thinking skills, above all Suzanne is flexible and can adapt to change in technology.
Suzanne’s traits always made her among the best interns at the company. During busy seasons and having special projects done, she initiated a problem-solving skill of team building to achieve positive results.
Suzanne has a strong recommendation for this position. I am sure that she will be a powerful asset to your organization.
Please, for any question regarding the person mentioned earlier, do not hesitate to call me at (555335-5206), I will elaborate further on our professional time together.
Director, Unilever Dodoma branch.