Write a Strong Recommendation Letter for Employment in 5 Easy Steps + Template!

Write a Strong Recommendation Letter for Employment in 5 Easy Steps + Template!
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 17 January, 2023

You may already have experience in asking former co-workers or supervisors for a recommendation letter for employment, but what do you do when you're the one who needs to write the letter for your colleague? To help you craft a letter that captivates and convinces, JobStreet gives you tips and a template you can download for free!

What is a Recommendation Letter for Employment?

Recommendation letters have various purposes - a promotion, an academic scholarship, or a new job. We focus on the last bit, wherein your letter supports applicants by affirming their competence, professional experience, and overall character. It consists of why you think a jobseeker is an excellent fit for the role.

Why Does Your Recommendation Letter Matter?

A recommendation letter is often sent to the hiring manager, along with the jobseeker's resume. How can your testimonial boost an applicant's chances for employment? Here are some ways:

It concretizes the resume.

Because resumes should be short yet compelling, they leave little room for giving context to work experiences and achievements. In your letter, you can explain these things in detail. If the jobseeker listed " collaboration " as a skill, you can give examples wherein you witnessed first-hand how this person showed this strength. Your explanations can convince employers that an applicant deserves a second look.

It backs up the applicant's claims.

Anyone can write an impressive resume by stretching the truth or making a few exaggerations. A recommendation letter from someone credible verifies the jobseeker's efforts and accomplishments and boosts their reputation. This also saves the HR (human resources) team time and effort in confirming the applicant's resume.

It shows the jobseeker's determination.

Recommendation letters aren't usually required; it's an extra step jobseekers can take to enhance their qualifications. But if you decide to make one, you'll be doing your colleague a huge favor. It also shows their commitment and sincerity in landing the job.

7 Tips for Writing a Recommendation Letter

As the source of the recommendation letter, a lot rests on your shoulders. But no worries, follow these pointers in crafting a compelling letter that does the job!

1. Assess if you're the right person to write it.

It's an honor to be handpicked as an endorser, but are you comfortable with it? Try to evaluate if you're the best person to write a recommendation letter. If you're not a true believer in the jobseeker's skills, or you've had an unpleasant experience with the applicant, you may not be able to write a glowing testimonial. You can always politely decline if you don't feel up to it.

2. Do your research.

Make sure you've enough background research on the jobseeker. The last thing you want to do is provide misinformation, such as experiences or skills in which they could be stronger. You want to make sure what you're writing is truthful. Ask for a copy of your colleague's resume, portfolio, and other relevant materials, such as a cover letter they've sent or are planning to send. This will give you an idea of how they see themselves and how they want to present themselves to their potential employer.

3. Stick to specifics.

Avoid repeating the resume by narrating specific situations that cast the jobseeker in a favorable light. Use hard-hitting and precise descriptions to show why this applicant is a perfect choice. Try putting yourself in the employer's shoes. What would they like to hear about the candidate? To guide you, ask the jobseeker for a list of traits and achievements they'd like to emphasize.

4. Focus on the good things.

Always highlight the jobseeker's best characteristics while remaining truthful and sincere when writing your letter. Be careful about including observations that may be viewed negatively. There's no such thing as a perfect employee, but if you accentuate the positive, you're sure to give your colleague an edge over other applicants.

5. Keep it short but sweet.

Like resumes, recommendation letters should be concise and straight to the point. Avoid beating around the bush; the employer might give up reading before getting to the meat of your letter. Do your best to keep it down to a page to retain your reader's attention.

6. Check for errors.

Your letter is a reflection of not only yourself but also the jobseeker. Before sending, always proofread for spelling and grammatical mistakes. Double-check the names of the company and addressee and their position. Errors are a major turn-off, especially if the applicant aims to impress.

7. Follow guidelines.

The employer may have specific protocols for recommendation letters. Follow them to make sure that your letter reaches the proper channels. Use your company letterhead to make it look credible, and always check that you got the addresses right.

Sample Recommendation Letter and How to Write It

Follow our five-step guide in writing your recommendation letter.

1. Write a proper address.

By this, we don't mean the company address, but the person who will receive the letter. Hiring managers typically get the recommendation letter, and they should be addressed by "Mr." or "Ms." Succeeded by their surname. It would be embarrassing to address someone as "Mr." when they are a "Ms." and vice versa.

2. Introduce yourself.

Explain how exactly you know the person you're recommending. Talk about the capacity with which you've worked with them and how long you've known them. Remember to include information about yourself, as this adds credibility. Mention your job title, too. This will give the employer an idea of who exactly is giving the recommendation, as potential hires can ask people with whom they've worked professionally. Your opinions and thoughts weigh more strongly as you've seen your colleague's work ethic in close proximity.

3. Shift the focus to your colleague.

Outline their strengths, which should be related and relevant to the position they're applying for. Include specific examples and reasons for your recommendation. Here, you can indirectly say what makes you the perfect reference person for the employee. Mention how long you've worked with them and the direct experiences that convince you why they're the best person for the job.

4. Finish up your letter.

Use the conclusion to boost the jobseeker's credentials further. An effective sentence can be, "If given a chance, I would grab the opportunity to work with this person again." This summary plainly says that you recommend this person for the position.

5. Put your contact details.

End your recommendation letter with your full name, position, signature and contact information. This way, the employer can quickly contact you for anything they need.

Once you've got all of that figured out, it's time to get to writing. Here's a sample template you can follow. Change the underlined parts to the respective names, positions, qualities, and achievements that are relevant to the person you're recommending.

Sample Recommendation Letter for Employee

DearMs. Fernandez,Good day! I'mKristina Cruz, theEditor-in-ChiefofThat Magazine. I am beyond happy to recommendCharlie Santosfor your company's Staff Writer position.Charlieand I have previously worked together forthreeyears atThat Magazine, where she interned as a college student. Since then, she has proven to be an excellentEditorial Assistantprompt,efficient, andtalented. She consistentlymet deadlines,produced quality shoots, andcreated contentthatincreased That Magazine's digital readership. She couldhead projectsandmanage booksin a strong and orderly fashion. She has a great rapport with team members—from her fellowEditorial Assistantsto theSection Editors. Her passion and love forwriting and the publishing industryhave always fueled her to do her best in all her tasks.I confidently recommendCharlieto be part of your team, as my experience working with her has proven fruitful, productive, and all-around positive. She will be a great addition to your team.Should you have any questions, I can be reached at0917-123-4567, where I can happily expound on my recommendation for Charlie.Best,Kristina SalvadorEditor-in-ChiefThat Magazine

After this step, you can send in or print your letter. If you're sending it in, save it as a PDF so no one can edit it. If you're printing it and submitting it through the person you recommend, make sure it's sealed in an envelope.

Need a job recommendation?

If you're looking for better job opportunities, then you may need to find someone to write a recommendation letter for you! Check out the job market by exploring JobStreet or downloading the JobStreet app on Google Play or the App Store to create or update your profile.

More from this category: Applying for jobs

Top search terms

Want to know what people are searching for on Jobstreet? Explore our top search terms to stay across industry trends.

Explore related topics

Choose an area of interest to browse related careers.

Subscribe to Career Advice

Get expert career advice delivered to your inbox.
You can cancel emails at any time. By clicking ‘subscribe’ you agree to Jobstreet’s Privacy Statement.