Written by: Ana Zlatar, psychologist.
The person reading a letter of recommendation sometimes doesn’t have a lot of time to read it. They will usually pay attention to relevance and credibility of the person writing the letter of recommendation, then the candidate’s qualities and general impression(…)… and if you don’t have anything good to say about the candidate, you should politely say no to writing the letter.
The most important aim of the letter of recommendation is to help the employer choose between the candidates or make it easier. Letters of recommendation differ in content and form, but they still have a couple of things in common. Here you can see the usual structure of a letter of recommendation.
Recommendation is (usually) written by a former employer, professor or mentor.
In the beginning introduce yourself. Describe who you are, what is your relationship with the candidate and how long have you been working together. In the introduction you can also state you (general) opinion on the candidate.
THE BODY OF THE TEXT
After the introduction you should write about the candidate’s qualities. Start from the best one and confirm it with a specific example. Continue listing the candidate’s qualities and examples of those qualities.
In the conclusion you should state why you believe this candidate is a good choice for them. State how he could contribute to the company. Emphasize once again who you trust the candidate and his abilities.
At the very end offer your further assistance in the case that the person reading this letter of recommendation needs more information. Don’t forget to list you contacts in the letter – e-mail, phone number and address.
It is important to emphasize that it is not recommended to change the facts in the letter of recommendations. So, you should agree to writing the letter only if you know the person well enough to refer to their qualities in the professional environment. Writing a good and accurate letter of recommendation requires time and effort and the only „compensation“is getting recommendations from other people when you need it. Imagine you are in the place of the future employer and write what you think you could use in a letter of recommendation.
What to do before writing a letter of recommendation.
Before writing a letter of recommendation it is good to write down the words/phrases you could use in the recommendation. Sort them out in a couple of groups – according to categories:
- professional skills – is the candidate a good leader, a team player, analytical or a researcher? Is he accurate? Was he absent a lot from work in the past? Is he loyal to the organization he’s working for?;
- specific skills – does the candidate have communication skills? Can he work on computers? Can he speak a foreign language?;
- personal qualities – is the candidate pleasant, fun, does he get along with his colleagues?;
- accomplishments – list several of the most important accomplishments the candidate achieved while you supervised him;
- weaknesses – what should the candidate work on in the future?;
- future potential – how do you see the candidate in the future?
The person writing the letter of recommendation usually doesn’t have a lot of time.
What happens very often is that the people writing the recommendation do not want to lose time or they don’t know what to write, so it often happen that they suggest to the candidate to write the letter himself and in the end they just sign it. If you find yourself in such a situation, just think about how the letter of recommendation should have credibility and should represent your qualities objectively.
The person reading the letter of recommendation usually doesn’t have a lot of time.
The person reading a letter of recommendation sometimes doesn’t have a lot of time to read it. They will usually pay attention to relevance and credibility of the person writing the letter of recommendation, then the candidate’s qualities and general impression(…)… and if you don’t have anything good to say about the candidate, you should politely say no to writing the letter. It is in the best interest of the candidate, because this way you are giving him the opportunity to ask someone else who will maybe be able to say something good about the candidate.
Hand-written recommendations – not very professional.
Letters of recommendation should be typed, not hand-written. Hand-written letters of recommendation leave an impression that the person is not serious and unprofessional. But, don’t forget to sign the letter! Also, it would be good if it was printed on a paper with your company’s logo.
The length of the letter of recommendation.
The length of the letter of recommendation differs. It shouldn’t be too short because in that case it won’t present the candidate very good, but you also shouldn’t overdo it with a five-page letter. Choose your words, be concise – there’s no point in writing a novel.
Writing a letter of recommendation is a big responsibility because you can help someone get a job. If you take on this work, do it seriously and try to do it good.
- The Internet