How to Write a Letter of Recommendation
If somebody—a current or former student, colleague, intern, employee, or mentee—asks you to write them a letter of recommendation, take a moment to be proud of yourself. You’ve made an impact on them, and they trust you enough to ask you to help them move forward in their career, educational or otherwise.
After you give yourself a pat on the back, get to work on writing the kind of letter of recommendation that will make them stand out as an ideal candidate for the position they’re seeking. That’s the key to writing an effective letter of recommendation: It’s not enough to express that they’re a great person; you need to demonstrate that they would be an asset to the company, school, or program for which they are applying.
Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing shines? Grammarly can check your spelling and save you from grammar and punctuation mistakes. It even proofreads your text, so your work is extra polished wherever you write.
Your writing, at its best Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly
What is a letter of recommendation?
A letter of recommendation is an honest testimonial about an individual that recommends them for a specific role, grant, or acceptance into a program. Although the goal is to present the letter’s subject in the best light possible, you need to present the information in a factual manner.
Types of letters of recommendation
There are a few different, common reasons why an individual might ask for a letter of recommendation. The goal is the same for every letter of recommendation: to present the candidate as an ideal match for the position or program they’re seeking. But the right topics to cover in your letter vary between the different types.
Academic letters of recommendation
If you’ve been asked to write a letter of recommendation for a student, your letter should speak specifically about their academic performance as well as the character traits that make them a strong candidate for the spot in the program or grant they’re seeking. There can be various application scenarios where a student might ask for a letter of recommendation:
- Undergraduate college
- A specific academic program within a college, such as the honors program or a particular major
- Graduate, medical, or law school
- A grant or scholarship
- An internship or fellowship
Whenever possible, tailor your letter of recommendation to the specific institution or program where the student is seeking acceptance.
Professional letters of recommendation
Professional letters of recommendation are another fairly common type of letter of recommendation. Many candidates ask former employers and mentors to help them with their job searches by recommending them for positions.
Here’s a key difference between an academic letter of recommendation and a professional one: In a professional letter of recommendation, the focus should be almost exclusively on the candidate’s professional performance and fitness for the specific role they’re seeking.
Home rental referrals
Another kind of letter of recommendation is for home rentals. Often, landlords ask prospective tenants for recommendations from previous landlords about their experience with the tenants. If you’re asked to write this type of letter of recommendation, keep the new landlord’s concerns in mind and highlight the experiences that made your relationship with the tenant a positive one, like their promptness in paying the rent and the care they took of the property.
Recommendation letter format
Your letter of recommendation shouldn’t be more than a page long. Keep it to approximately the same length as a cover letter : a few tight, focused paragraphs that express your point without fluff.
Tone-wise, a letter of recommendation should be professional. Write it in the same tone you would use to write an email to a professional contact or a reference letter . It shouldn’t be in the same formal tone that you would use for a piece of academic writing, but it also shouldn’t assume familiarity with its recipient or read like a casual letter. Using an inappropriate tone for your recommendation letter can reflect poorly on the person you’re recommending, so be sure to get your tone just right .
In most cases, your letter of recommendation should adhere to the following format:
In the first line of your letter, greet the recipient directly. Don’t try to get creative here; a simple “Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs./Mx./Dr. ____” is the best choice. If you don’t know the recipient’s name, start your letter with “To whom it may concern.”
In the next line, clearly state the name of the candidate and the position for which you are recommending them. You can also introduce yourself in this section. Here are a couple examples of effective introduction lines:
“I am writing to recommend [Candidate’s first and last name] for acceptance into [University’s name] . I have had the pleasure of teaching [Candidate] for the past three years at [High school’s name] .”
“It is my pleasure to recommend [Candidate’s first and last name] for the Copywriter position with [Agency name] . [Candidate] and I have worked together at [Company] for the past six years.”
In this section, clearly state the attributes that make the candidate the ideal choice for the position they’re seeking. Depending on the type of recommendation you’re making, this could be a mix of personality traits and skills, or it could be strictly focused on the candidate’s skills and accomplishments.
Elaborate on the traits you discussed in your overview with personal stories that highlight the candidate’s traits and skills. Be as specific as possible here—if there was a particular project where the candidate took the lead or there are stats you can share about their work, include them here.
Bring your letter to a close with a statement reiterating your recommendation. This statement can include a personal testimonial, such as the following example:
“After renting to [Candidate] for the past two years, I can confidently recommend her as a responsible, conscientious tenant.”
Finish out your letter with a signature.
Much like a professional email signature, your recommendation letter signature should include more than your name. Although you likely mentioned your relationship to the candidate in your letter, include your professional title beneath your name.
The letter’s recipient might want to contact you to discuss the candidate further, so make it easy for them to reach you by including your contact information in your signature. Usually, a phone number and email address are the best choices to include, along with your work hours.
Tips to keep in mind when you’re writing a letter of recommendation
Keep it relevant.
Maybe the candidate rescued a family of lambs from a burning barn. That’s heroic and adorable, but unless they’re applying for a job with the local livestock fire department, it’s probably irrelevant to your letter.
Just like a cover letter, your letter of recommendation should be concise. It should highlight the key reasons why the candidate is the ideal choice for the position they’re seeking, and any details you choose to include should support these reasons. Discussing the candidate’s character can be helpful, but tie it to their fitness for the role they’re seeking—if they’re applying for nursing school, discussing their commitment to ethics is an important detail to include. If the application is for a grant to conduct archeological research, make sure you mention the research projects they spearheaded while working with you.
Include specific anecdotes, facts, and statistics
The more specific facts you have about the candidate’s work, the more compelling your letter of recommendation will be. For example, if you’re writing a letter for a colleague who’s seeking a digital marketing position, mention specific conversion rates they achieved while working with you. Similarly, if you’re recommending a high school student to a university, make sure you include anecdotes about their performance on specific assignments and/or extracurricular activities in your letter.
Use a positive, friendly, yet professional tone
As we mentioned above, the right tone for a letter of recommendation is one that’s professional, yet approachable. Your relationship with the candidate and your regard for them should be evident in your writing’s tone.
If you can’t write an effective letter of recommendation, don’t
You might find yourself in a situation where you can’t write an honest, effective letter of recommendation for somebody who asks for one. This might be because you simply don’t know the person or their work well enough, or it could be that you found their work to be underwhelming or unsatisfactory.
In either case, the professional way to decline the request is to simply tell them that you aren’t familiar enough with their work to discuss it effectively, or don’t believe you would be the best person to write them a letter of recommendation. Depending on the situation, you could direct them to another person in your organization who’s more familiar with their work and is thus more capable of writing an effective letter of recommendation. If this isn’t feasible, simply let them know that you’re not able to write them a letter of recommendation and leave it at that. This isn’t the time to denigrate their work or tell them why you aren’t impressed with it.
Mistakes to avoid
Take a look at these two testimonials:
“ Luis was a great student. He is very smart and a hard worker, and because of these traits, I know he’ll succeed at Rutgers University.”
“When he took my Chem I and Chem II classes, Luis consistently put 100 percent into his assignments. He demonstrated his innate intellect and dedication to his schoolwork through his thoughtful and often creative responses to critical thinking questions and assignments. Because of his passion, drive, and capacity to handle rigorous coursework, I know he’ll succeed at Rutgers University.”
In the second example, the letter writer discusses specific courses Luis took and how he worked hard in those courses. There are lots of great students out there (and they’re applying for the same limited number of university spots), so it’s crucial that your letter communicates exactly what makes the candidate an ideal choice.
Just like you shouldn’t send a generic write-up of the candidate’s achievements, avoid embellishing them. Compare these two examples:
“Nobody has ever been a better salesperson than Alicia.”
“Alicia exceeded her projected sales figures every quarter.”
In the first example, even if it’s true, reads more like a description of a comic book character than a testimonial of an actual person’s work. Using hyperbole in your letter of recommendation undermines its credibility, which can hurt the candidate’s likelihood of being accepted or hired.
Not introducing yourself
In your letter, you’re personally vouching for the candidate. For that vouching to have any impact, the person who reads your letter needs to know who you are and why you’re qualified to recommend the candidate. A quick introduction and a sentence or two about your relationship with the candidate are sufficient.
Letter of recommendation examples
You can find great recommendation letter samples all over the internet. Just search for the type of letter you’re writing and you will find numerous examples of letters that work.
Take a look at this academic letter of recommendation .
In it, a former supervisor discusses a candidate’s fitness for a graduate school program. This is an important point to keep in mind—even if you knew the candidate in a professional setting, your insight to their work could be just as valuable as an academic contact’s recommendation when they’re applying to college or graduate school.
Here is an example of a professional letter of recommendation .
See how this letter makes its candidate stand out by discussing specific examples where he went above and beyond? If you have those kinds of anecdotes to share, include them in your letter.
Letter of recommendation FAQs
A letter of recommendation is a written testimonial of an individual’s abilities, achievements, and capacity for continued growth.
How should I start a letter of recommendation?
Start your letter of recommendation with a greeting that acknowledges the letter’s reader. Whenever possible, address them by name. When this isn’t possible, use a formal, professional greeting like “To whom it may concern.”
What should go into a letter of recommendation?
A letter of recommendation should include the following:
- An introduction that states the candidate’s name and the position they are seeking
- A clear statement of your relationship with the candidate
- An honest testimonial of their work
- A clear recommendation of the candidate
- A signature that includes your contact information
How should I end a letter of recommendation?
End your letter of recommendation with a signature that includes your job title and contact information. By including these, the letter’s reader can easily contact you to discuss the candidate in greater detail.
Write confidently when you’re recommending the best
Even the most glowing letter of recommendation will make its subject look like a poor candidate if it’s riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes. Before you send your letter to its subject (or their prospective new supervisor), have Grammarly give it a once-over to catch any mistakes you might have missed and make suggestions you can use to write a more effective letter of recommendation.
This article was originally written by Kimberly Joki in 2017. It’s been updated to include new information.
- Get the Job
- Resumes and CVs
- Cover Letters
- Professional References
Professional Licenses and Exams
- Get a Promotion
- Professional Ethics
- Dealing with Coworkers
- Dealing with Bosses
Managing the office, disabilities, harassment and discrimination, unemployment.
- Career Paths
- Compare Careers
- Switching Careers
- Training and Certifications
- Start a Company
- Internships and Apprenticeships
- Entry Level Jobs
- College Degrees
Growth Trends for Related Jobs
How to end a recommendation letter.
A prospective student, employee or member of a committee may request that you write a recommendation letter because he feels that your recommendation will enhance his application. When writing the letter, put yourself in the position of the reader and ask yourself what you would want to know. The person asking for the recommendation might write a draft of the letter and ask you to sign it.
End the recommendation letter with a couple sentences at most. They should clearly summarize the information that was provided in the assessment part of the letter.
Begin the final one or two sentences by saying "in summary," "in closing," or "accordingly." Follow this by a comma and close as concisely as possible. These words, and the beginning statements, stand out from the rest.
Write as many positive thoughts as you can. Recommendation letters are usually positive, although not always.
Write something like "In closing, I highly recommend [name] for the position," or "Based on the foregoing information, I cannot honestly recommend [name] for the spot on the board of trustees."
Write something like "sincerely" at the end, followed by a comma, and write your name below that.
- Note that you may be challenged to write a positive letter of recommendation, if your credibility is on the line.
How to write a formal business letter →.
How to Write a Thank-You Card to Your Boss →
How to Write a Letter Requesting a Future Job Opening →
Ways to Sign a Letter With Regards →
How to Write a Peer Reference →
How to Write a Response to an Interview Request →
- Write Express: Recommendation Letter Tips, Tricks, and Advice
Phillip Chappell has been a professional writer in Canada since 2008. He began his work as a freelancer for "Senior Living Magazine" before being hired at the "Merritt News" in British Columbia, where he wrote mostly about civic affairs. He is a temporary reporter for the "Rocky Mountain Outlook." Chappell holds a Bachelor of Journalism in computer programming from University College of the Cariboo.
- Job Descriptions
- Law Enforcement Job Descriptions
- Administrative Job Descriptions
- Healthcare Job Descriptions
- Sales Job Descriptions
- Fashion Job Descriptions
- Education Job Descriptions
- Salary Insights
- Journalism Salaries
- Healthcare Salaries
- Military Salaries
- Engineering Salaries
- Teaching Salaries
- Privacy Notice
- Cookie Notice
- Copyright Policy
- Contact Us
- Find a Job
- Manage Preferences
- California Notice of Collection
How to End a Recommendation Letter: 4 Templates
Whenever you are recommending any candidate for a specific position in the company or pursuing any course in a particular educational institute, you must make sure to summarize the earlier points and must logically state how the particular candidate is suitable for the position or study program. The recommendation letter needs to be written in a professional way by maintaining the clarity and simplicity of the language. You must close the letters in a formal way.
Letter Template: 1
[Mention your Name]
[Mention the Company Name]
[Address, Zip Code]
[Mention Phone No.]
[Mention the Addressee’s Name]
[Mention the Job Title]
[Mention the Phone number]
Subject- Referring for the position of Webmaster
Dear [mention addressee’s Name],
This is to let you know that I, [your name] am working in the position of [designation] in [company name] and I would like to recommend [name of the person] for the position of webmaster in your esteemed organization. I understand that he/she will be performing highly in this respective position. He/ She is capable to perform excellently in the profession of webmaster.
[ name of person] has been an excellent performer ever since he/she had joined [ company name]. In the role of webmaster, he/she has done his/her duties for last [ timespan] years. He/She had done incredibly by assisting us with his/her knowledge and skills. Our company has gone through amazing progress in all these years.
[ name of person] is absolutely fit for the role in your company. It is because he/she has proved over here in [company name] with his/her sincerity, honesty, dedication and excellent team building spirit.he/She is absolutely perfect to join [ company name 1] and I am sure that he/she will definitely prove his/her potential within a short time as a webmaster.
[Name of person] has assisted us in resolving numerous problems and also making sure that the hardware, software and web servers are in proper working condition. He/ She had shown his/her amazing talent in updating the WebPages and offering answers to all the comments of users.
He/She has in-depth knowledge of software testing and has been successfully monitoring the traffic through the site.
He/She has been attending to several clients and solving the issues related to hardware, software and servers successfully. He /She is a keen observer and he/she helps in resolving the problems with 100% accuracy.
I do foresee a great future for [name of person] in your company. He/She will definitely be able to show his/her potency as a successful webmaster. I highly recommend [name of person] for this respectable post.
I would like to thank you for enquiring me for a suitable candidate for the position of webmaster.
Thanking you once again,
[Mention your name]
Download Template : ( pdf, docs, ODT, RTF, txt, HTML, Epub, Etc )
Letter Template: 2
Subject- Suggesting [name of candidate] for the post of it Developer
I am mentioning [name of person] for the position of IT developer in your prestigious organization.
I am strongly recommending [name of person] because he/she is perfect for this role. I had working in the position of [position] in [company name] for last [timespan] years and I had not been able to witness such an efficient and talented candidate as [name of person].
I have also verified that it is also his/her deep interest to contribute in your company and prove his/her skills as an IT developer.
[Name of person] has been working in [company name] for last [timespan] years and has created milestones in achieving and completing several software projects.
With my experience in the field of Information Technology, I have not really seen a successful candidate like [name of person].
[Name of person] is highly skilled and knowledgeable as an IT developer. With his/her expert coding skills, [name of person] has been able to solve several problems and verified several applications successfully.
[Name of person] has never let us felt that he is an employee of the company. [Name of person] has contributed as one of the important member of the organization. He/She has always believed in working with all the levels of the organization by maintaining cordial relations.
With his/her support, we have been getting 100% client satisfaction. With his/her efforts, our company had been able to enhance its brand value and gain numerous clients for the completion of the projects.
He/She has been able to always finish the projects within the deadline.
Moreover, I do not have any other thought apart from recommending [name of person] for the position of IT developer. You will definitely appreciate me in future for this recommendation. I am confident about it.
I wish him/her all the best for his/her bright future as a successful IT developer in your company.
Letter Template: 3
Subject- Recommending for the position of Credit Analyst
The purpose of writing this letter is to introduce you about [name of person] who will be a perfect candidate to work in the position of credit analyst in your respective organization.
As you know me very well, I, [your name] am from the HR Department of [your company name]; I am working in the position of [position] for last [timespan] years. I have known [name of person] since last [timespan] years when he/she had joined our organization as an accountant.
Within a short span of time, he/she had attended amazing developments in his/her professional career due to his/her amazing knowledge of finance and accounting transactions. Hershel got promoted as an accounts manager and then finally as a credit analyst.
Once you meet [name of person], I am sure that you will be ready to offer the position of credit analyst in your esteemed company.
It is because [name of person] has amazed us with his/her insight in to market risks and advising us to follow accordingly. With his/her in depth knowledge of finance and accounting, our company has made a turnover of $[amount] this year.
[Name of person] is quite capable to understand the strengths of the customers and provide guidance about cash flows. He/She is also expert in convincing the clients and is known to offer better judgment as well.
He/She has excellent academic background with certification from [name of institute] and graduation from [university name] with the specialization in finance and accounting.
I am confident that you will definitely support my recommendation for [name of person] to perform in your company.
I would like to send best of my wishes for your company if you select [name of person] in the role of credit analyst who is hardworking, intelligent and have excellent command in finance and accounts.
[ your name]
Letter Template: 4
Subject- Recommending for the position of Business Consultant
I would like to inform you that the position of a business consultant is perfectly suitable for [name of person]. I am recommending his/her name for this relevant post in your company because I have officially and personally know him/her for a period of [timespan] years.
He/She had joined [present company name] on [mention date after my joining. We are working in the same team in this company ever since we had joined the company.
I have been close in touch with him/her on a professional and personal level and found him/her very talented, knowledgeable and successful individual
He/She is very capable to handle all the business assignments and convince clients based in any corner of the globe. Before talking to the client, I have seen him/her doing good deal of research online. He/She has excellent marketing ideas and he/she knows how and what to say to the client. Everyday, he/she is able to able handle 150 calls a day and never sounds tired over the call.
He/She is able to meet the target almost daily and also assist other nonperforming members to achieve the target. I am quite grateful for the way he/she had helped me to achieve my target last month.
[ name of person] has made excellent efforts in not only raising the reputation of our team but also our company’s image as well by advising excellent business strategies.
He/She is not only successful in handling B2B campaign but also B2C campaign with his/her appropriate communication skills.
I strongly support him’/her in every respect for his/her professional performance and I have also found him/her a person with an excellent personality. He/She is sincere, honest and dedicated candidate. I would request you to kindly consider his/her profile and offer the job that he/she deserves.
Please let me further through [ email id ] or [ contact number ].
- Software Developer Farewell Letter: 30 Templates
- Webmaster Cover Letter: 4 Templates
- Software Developer Appraisal Letter: 10 Templates
- Credit Limit Increase Request Letter: 8 Templates
- Analyst Farewell Letter: 20 Templates
- Business Analyst Cover Letter Examples: 6 Templates
- How to Write an Acceptance Letter: 11 Templates
- How To Write a Cover Letter With No Experience: 82 Templates
- Credit Card Authorization Letter: 4 Templates
- Front End Developer Cover Letter: 4 Templates
“Business, marketing, and blogging – these three words describe me the best. I am the founder of Burban Branding and Media, and a self-taught marketer with 10 years of experience. My passion lies in helping startups enhance their business through marketing, HR, leadership, and finance. I am on a mission to assist businesses in achieving their goals.”
Choose Your Test
Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 9 sample excellent recommendation letters for your job.
Letters of Recommendation
Anyone who's applied for a job knows how important recommendation letters can be to getting hired. While you've probably asked for a reference letter in the past, you may be less familiar with writing one. If someone asks you for a reference, how can you produce a great letter that will help your employee, colleague, or friend get hired?
To help you through the writing process, we're providing nine samples of effective letters of recommendation (scroll down to skip to the samples!). By reading through these examples, you'll gain a clear understanding of how to structure your own letters.
Before getting to the free recommendation letter samples, let's briefly review the role that reference letters play in the hiring process. Why are they important, and what makes some stand out over others?
Why Are Recommendation Letters Important?
Many employers request recommendation letters to help them decide who to hire or internally promote. Throughout the hiring process, the applicant strives to present herself in the best light. Beyond the interview and resume, hiring managers look to recommendation letters to confirm the candidate's qualifications and to gain insight from an outside party.
The hiring manager wants to know what experiences the candidate will bring to the new role, how she'll contribute to the company or organization, and how she'll behave in the day-to-day. Recommendation letters can point to a candidate's future performance by talking about her past achievements.
Reference letters can also shed light on what it's like to manage, work with, or, in the case of a character reference, be friends with the person under consideration. They complement the candidate's story and suggest what she'll bring to the table in her next job.
If you get asked to write a letter for someone, it's safe to assume you want to do a good job. Helping someone get hired is not just a satisfying good deed, but it's also good professional karma! So how can you turn those good intentions into a stand-out employee letter of recommendation?
Each letter will, of course, be different, but good letters share certain key features. Read on to learn about three important characteristics of strong reference letters.
Your recommendation letter's not the time to be cagey about your identity! The hiring manager wants to know who you are and why you're qualified to recommend the applicant.
What Makes a Recommendation Letter Stand Out? 3 Key Features
Strong letters give positive descriptions of a candidate's skills in a concise and powerful way. Beyond using language that's clear and error-free, what elements should your recommendation letter include to be effective?
As you write your letter, make sure it does the following:
#1: Explains Why You're Qualified to Recommend the Candidate
In order to hold weight, a recommendation letter should come from a reputable source. If an employer wants a professional reference, then the writer of that letter probably worked with the candidate in a supervisory capacity. Some employers will also be interested in letters from a colleague or, occasionally, a friend, neighbor, or family member. Most letters, though, will be written by a supervisor, manager, or boss of some sort.
In the first paragraph, you should explain who you are and how you know the candidate. How long did you work with her and in what capacity? By explaining your relationship, you show that you're qualified to give an honest assessment.
If someone who feels like a relative stranger asks you to write a letter, you might consider declining or recommending someone else to write it. If you didn't get to know the candidate's work performance or only did so in a way completely unrelated to the new position, then you might not be able to provide a helpful letter of recommendation from employer to employee.
The best letters are written by people who can speak to the candidate's skills and accomplishments. Make sure to state clearly in the beginning of your letter who you are and why your opinion matters.
#2: Customized to the New Position
While you should speak to the candidate's accomplishments in her past role, you should also show why she'd make a good fit in the next one. Even if the candidate's making a career change, you can explain why she'll be able to do well in the new industry.
Here's where open communication with the applicant is important. She should share the job description so you have a clear understanding of the position's requirements. As the writer, you're not expected to do much research on the new job. The candidate should provide you with everything you need to know to customize your letter.
By drawing on this information, you can express confidence that the candidate will succeed in the new role. Then when the hiring manager reads your letter, she'll feel reassured that the candidate would make a good fit.
#3: Uses Specific Examples and Anecdotes
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, your letter should provide specific examples about the candidate. Don't just list adjectives like, "friendly, intelligent, and hard-working"; instead, present circumstances in which the candidate demonstrated those qualities. To borrow a favorite phrase of English teachers, "show, don't just tell."
Not only will examples point to the value the candidate brought to your organization or company, but they'll also paint a picture of how she works in day-to-day operations. Using two to three specific anecdotes in your letter will boost its level of persuasiveness. It will also sidestep a common rec letter trap: becoming a generic list of cliches.
Just as you should only write a recommendation letter if you feel qualified to assess the candidate, you should also only write it if you can provide a great one. While you don't want to go over the top and sound insincere, your letter should be a strongly positive endorsement.
Sample Recommendation Letters
As you read through the nine free job recommendation letters below, notice how they all share the three key features described above, even though they differ in terms of their source and target audience. Below are nine sample recommendation letters, each followed by an analysis of what it does well!
- Sample Recommendation Letter 1: Written by a Direct Manager for a Full-Time Employee
- Sample Recommendation Letter 2: Written by a Principal for a Teacher
- Sample Recommendation Letter 3: Written by a Direct Manager for a Part-Time Employee
- Sample Recommendation Letter 4: Written by a Manager for a Remote Worker
- Sample Recommendation Letter 5: Written by a Supervisor for an Internal Promotion
- Sample Recommendation Letter 6: Written by a Supervisor for a Student Intern
- Sample Recommendation Letter 7: Written by a Coworker
- Sample Recommendation Letter 8: Written by a Professor for a Former Student
- Sample Recommendation Letter 9: Written by a Friend as a Character Reference
After checking out the above samples of recommendation letters, read on for some final thoughts on how to write an excellent letter of recommendation for an employee, coworker, or friend.
Now that you've got all the building blocks, you can put them together into a powerful letter of recommendation!
Writing Strong Letters of Recommendation: Final Thoughts
While the above samples of recommendation letters will help guide you through the letter writing process, they can't look exactly like your final product. Writing a letter is a significant undertaking, as it requires you to customize your words to the candidate and make your letter unique. Even though the specifics will vary, strong letters of recommendation do have certain features in common. Each letter should...
Use an Official Format
The sample letters show the proper format for a recommendation letter. They have the employer's name, position, company, and company's address at the top. To give one example, here's the header for recommendation letter sample #1:
Ms. Greta Johanssen Sales Manager Streambase Corp. 66 Western Boulevard Santa Fe, New Mexico 87500
You should also use official letterhead that has your name and contact information across the top, in whatever way you've chosen to present it. Each letter is addressed to a specific person, a greeting that's more personal than, "Dear Hiring Manager." Typically, paragraphs are single-spaced with a double space in between each one.
Finally, every letter concludes with an invitation to contact the writer for any further information. Then the writer may include her position, company, phone number, and email below her name.
Start with a Strong Opener
The strongest letters start out with an immediate statement of support. They might say, "It's my honor," "It's my pleasure," or "I'm very pleased to provide this letter of recommendation for Joe." Stating the obvious with a sentence like, "I'm writing to recommend Joe," looks weak beside a more enthusiastic opener.
In the first paragraph, explain who you are and why you're qualified to recommend the candidate. Write a line or two of praise about her professional and personal strengths, perhaps with a summary of the main points you'll present in the rest of the letter.
Include Two to Three Specific Examples
As mentioned above, strong letters typically include two to three body paragraphs with specific anecdotes about the candidate. They don't just describe the applicant's great qualities and accomplishments; they give examples and prove to her prospective employer that she's made achievements in the past that predict future success.
You might talk about a project or responsibility of the applicant or the value she's brought to your company. Consider relevant qualities like flexibility, initiative, leadership, growth, collaboration, interpersonal skills, and/or ability to perform within a certain environment or culture.
To Sum Up...
Depending on your relationship with the candidate, you might focus more on her work performance or personal character in your recommendation letter. An employer will focus more heavily on professional skills while a coworker may add personal qualities.
A friend or neighbor providing a character reference would produce the most personal letter. It falls upon the candidate to choose her recommenders wisely and to share any relevant information about the prospective position to help them write the best letter they can.
As long as you incorporate the key features discussed above and take the time to make your letter positive and specific, you'll provide a strong recommendation letter that will help your employee, colleague, or friend get hired. And who knows—perhaps in a year or two, she'll be writing a recommendation letter for you!
Are you tasked with writing a recommendation letter for a student applying to college? If so, check out these samples of recommendation letters from teachers and counselors, along with additional writing tips and a thorough recommendation letter template!
- 4 Amazing Samples of Recommendation Letters from Teachers Should You Move to a State with No Income Taxes
- 3 Examples of Excellent Recommendation Letters from Counselors
- Complete Guide: Writing a Strong Letter of Recommendation
- Unsecured Credit Cards for Those with Bad Credit
- A Great College Recommendation Letter Template
Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.
Student and Parent Forum
Our new student and parent forum, at ExpertHub.PrepScholar.com , allow you to interact with your peers and the PrepScholar staff. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Ask questions; get answers.
Ask a Question Below
Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!
Improve With Our Famous Guides
- For All Students
The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points
How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer
Series: How to Get 800 on Each SAT Section:
Score 800 on SAT Math
Score 800 on SAT Reading
Score 800 on SAT Writing
Series: How to Get to 600 on Each SAT Section:
Score 600 on SAT Math
Score 600 on SAT Reading
Score 600 on SAT Writing
Free Complete Official SAT Practice Tests
What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For?
15 Strategies to Improve Your SAT Essay
The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points
How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer
Series: How to Get 36 on Each ACT Section:
36 on ACT English
36 on ACT Math
36 on ACT Reading
36 on ACT Science
Series: How to Get to 24 on Each ACT Section:
24 on ACT English
24 on ACT Math
24 on ACT Reading
24 on ACT Science
What ACT target score should you be aiming for?
ACT Vocabulary You Must Know
ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score
How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League
How to Get a Perfect 4.0 GPA
How to Write an Amazing College Essay
What Exactly Are Colleges Looking For?
Is the ACT easier than the SAT? A Comprehensive Guide
Should you retake your SAT or ACT?
When should you take the SAT or ACT?
Get the latest articles and test prep tips!
Looking for Graduate School Test Prep?
Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here:
GRE Online Prep Blog
GMAT Online Prep Blog
TOEFL Online Prep Blog
Holly R. "I am absolutely overjoyed and cannot thank you enough for helping me!”
- Search Search Please fill out this field.
- Career Planning
- Finding a Job
How to End a Letter (With Closing Examples)
Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.
The Best Options To End a Letter
Letter closing examples, more letter closing examples, letter closings to avoid, how to capitalize a closing, how to format a letter ending, what to include in your signature, signature examples, frequently asked questions (faqs).
AntonioGuillem / iStock / Getty Images Plus
How you end a letter is important. It’s your last chance to make a good first impression on your reader. Choose the wrong closing, and you might damage the goodwill you have built up in the rest of your communication.
What’s the best way to end a letter or email message? Your closing needs to leave the reader with positive feelings about you and the letter you have written.
In closing your letter, it is important to use an appropriately respectful and professional word or phrase.
Most formal letter closing options are reserved but note that there are degrees of warmth and familiarity among the options. Your relationship with the person to whom you're writing will shape which closing you choose:
- If you don’t know the individual to whom you’re writing, stick with a professional formal closing.
- If you’re writing to a colleague, business connection, or someone else you know well, it’s fine to close your letter less formally.
Above all, your closing should be appropriate. Choose the right letter closing, and your reader likely won’t remember how you ended your letter. Ideally, your message will resonate instead of your word choice.
- When you don’t know the individual to whom you’re writing, use a professional formal closing.
- If you're writing to someone you know well, it’s fine to close your letter less formally.
- Some closings are not appropriate for business correspondence, so avoid being too informal.
Review the best way to end a letter and review formal, business, or personal letter closings, sample signatures, letter examples, and writing tips.
The following are letter closings that are appropriate for business and employment-related letters.
Sincerely, Sincerely yours, Regards, Yours truly, and Yours sincerely
These are the simplest and most useful letter closings to use in a formal business setting. These are appropriate in almost all instances and are excellent ways to close a cover letter or a job inquiry . “Sincerely” is a classic way to end a letter or email, and if you're not sure about options, it's a good one to choose.
Best regards, Cordially, and Yours respectfully
These letter closings fill the need for something slightly more personal. They are appropriate once you have some knowledge of the person to whom you are writing. You may have corresponded via email a few times, had a face-to-face or phone interview, or met at a networking event.
Warm regards, Best wishes, and With appreciation
These letter closings are also appropriate once you have some knowledge or connection to the person to whom you are writing. Because they can relate to the content of the letter, they can give closure to the point of the letter. Only use these if they make sense with the content of your letter.
When you’re ending your letter, be sure to choose a letter closing that is appropriate to the topic of your letter and to your personal situation and relationship with the person to whom you are writing. Here are more examples to choose from:
- Best of luck,
- Best wishes,
- Cordially yours,
- Fond regards,
- In appreciation,
- In sympathy,
- Kind regards,
- Kind thanks,
- Kind wishes,
- Many thanks,
- Respectfully yours,
- Sincerely yours,
- Stay safe and well,
- Thanks again,
- Thank you for your assistance in this matter,
- Thank you for your consideration,
- Thank you for your recommendation,
- Thank you for your time,
- Warm regards,
- Warm wishes,
- With appreciation,
- With deepest sympathy,
- With gratitude,
- With sincere thanks,
- With sympathy,
- Your help is greatly appreciated,
- Yours cordially,
- Yours faithfully,
- Yours sincerely,
- Yours truly,
There are certain closings that you want to avoid in any business letter or email. Most of these are simply too informal. Casual doesn't work with professional correspondence. Some examples of closings to avoid are listed below:
Some closings (such as “Love” and “XOXO”) imply a level of closeness that is not appropriate for a business letter. Slang or acronyms aren't appropriate either.
If you would use the closing in a note to a close friend, it’s probably not suitable for business correspondence.
Capitalize the first word of your closing. If your closing is more than one word, capitalize the first word and use lowercase for the other words. For example:
- Sincerely yours
- Best regards
Once you have chosen a word or phrase to use as a send-off, follow it with a comma, some space, and then include your signature.
Printed letter: If you are sending a hard-copy letter, leave four lines of space between the closing and your typed name. Use this space to sign your name in ink.
Email message: If you’re sending an email , leave one space between the complimentary close and your typed signature. Include your contact information directly below your typed signature.
Beneath your letter closing, include your signature. If this is a physical letter, first sign your name in ink, and then list your typed signature below. If this is an email letter, simply add your typed signature below your send-off.
Make sure to include your contact information in your letter.
If this is a physical letter, your contact information will be at the top of the letter. However, if this is an email, include that information beneath your typed signature. This will allow the recipient to respond to you easily.
Hard-Copy Letter Signature
Handwritten signature (for a printed letter)
Email Message Signature Example
Typed Signature Email Address Phone LinkedIn URL (if you have a profile)
To set up your email signature, go to “settings” in your email account. Follow the steps to add your signature and prepopulate future messages.
How do you start a business letter?
If you are sending a hard-copy version, start your business letter with your name and address, followed by the date, and then the recipient’s name and address. Then, include a salutation and the recipient’s name, e.g., “Dear Ms. Green.”
What are the parts of a business letter?
The parts of a business letter are the sender’s address, the date, the recipient’s address, a salutation, the message body, a closing, and the sender’s signature. If you send the letter by email, you can omit the address and date sections and include your contact information in your email signature.
UNG University Press. " Learning the Parts of a Letter ."
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Here are some steps for how to end a reference letter effectively: 1. Summarize your primary points. Use the last paragraph of your reference letter to highlight the candidate's most relevant and impressive skills. Consider starting this final paragraph with a phrase like, "In conclusion" or "In summary."
Most popular ways to close a letter. 1. Sincerely. This professional sign-off is always appropriate, especially in a formal business letter or email. It relays the sincerity in which you ... 2. Kind regards. 3. Thank you for your time. 4. …
End your recommendation letter on a professional note, writing “Sincerely,” and then your name underneath. If sending a hard copy, leave some space to sign your signature in ink for an added personal touch.
How should I end a letter of recommendation? End your letter of recommendation with a signature that includes your job title and contact information. By including these, the letter’s reader can easily contact you to discuss the candidate in greater detail. Write confidently when you’re recommending the best
End the recommendation letter with a couple sentences at most. They should clearly summarize the information that was provided in the assessment part of the letter. Begin the final one or two sentences by saying "in summary," "in closing," or "accordingly." Follow this by a comma and close as concisely as possible.
You must close the letters in a formal way. Letter Template: 1 [Mention your Name] [Job Title] [Mention the Company Name] [Address, Zip Code] [Mention Phone No.] [Email] [Date] [Mention the Addressee’s Name] [Mention the Job Title] [Mention the Company Name] [Address, Zip Code] [Mention the Phone number] [Email]
Recommendation letters can point to a candidate's future performance by talking about her past achievements. Reference letters can also shed light on what it's like to manage, work with, or, in the case of a character reference, be friends with the person under consideration.
The first paragraph of your letter should explain how you know the person for whom you are writing. Reference your job title and the individual's job title at the time when you interacted, as well as the nature of your relationship, including whether you supervised the person you're recommending. 2 .
What’s the best way to end a letter or email message? Your closing needs to leave the reader with positive feelings about you and the letter you have written. Note In closing your letter, it is important to use an appropriately respectful and professional word or …
It’s common courtesy to send a short thank you note to each individual who wrote a letter on your behalf. Express your appreciation for their support with a mailed handwritten note or email. And be sure to update your recommenders with the good news when you’re accepted to the role. Tips for getting the best letters of recommendation