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How to Write Letter of Recommendation
A letter of recommendation also known as recommendation letter is a document in which the writer gives his assessment of the person, who is being recommended. The purpose of the letter is to recommend a certain person, who is well known to the writer, for a certain employment or for availing educational admission. Such a letter can also give positive recommendations of a person's personal integrity as is given by police authorities for completing certain legal requirements.
Writing a letter of recommendation is not that difficult if you have a clear idea of what you are writing. Here are some general guidelines on how to write letter of recommendation:
- First and most important, write such a letter only if you know the person well and are convinced, beyond reasonable doubt, that the person possesses the abilities you are vouching for. Also, write this letter only when you have known the person for a considerable period of time. A person's true qualities and true nature are revealed only when you know him for quite some time. Do not be weighed down by personal or professional relations. The reason for this is that if you write false things, in the long run even your reputation and integrity will be under question
- Next make a list of the genuine qualities of the person. From among these, select those that are noticeably different. This will make the letter of recommendation appear genuine and not one that is written just for the sake of it. For e.g. do not mention hard working as a quality, instead mention that the person has an eye for detail or is very specific or is one who can figure out things without being told
- If you want to really make a difference through the letter, ask the person to sit down with you and discuss the purpose for which he is seeking the letter. This will give you an idea of those virtues of the person that should be emphasized in the recommendation letter
- The style of the letter has to be such that there is an element of personal touch in it. Although the letter of recommendation is usually a professional document, you are personally vouching for the person's abilities. This personal touch will make the letter appear much more authentic
- The length of the letter is another important factor. Since the letter is a professional document, it has to be to the point and not exceed one page in any case
- The standard format for the letter of recommendation includes three paragraphs. This is how you can go about writing them:
- Start the letter by writing To Whom It May Concern. This is because in most cases, you will not know who will be reading your letter of recommendation
- In the first paragraph mention the capacity in which you are writing the letter. Also mention how and for how long you know the person being recommended. It is a good idea to mention the name of the person being recommended, to prevent its possible misuse
- The second paragraph is the most important and the lengthiest part of this letter. Here, you mention your experiences with the person being recommended. These experiences along with specific examples should bring out the qualities of the person that you are vouching for. Mentioning these qualities in the context of experience and examples makes them look authentic and provides the broad setting for the qualities
- The third paragraph contains the actual recommendation (like I am pleased to recommend... or I enthusiastically recommend... etc.) preceded by a summary of the traits and your continued belief in the person being recommended
On the whole, it can be said that writing a letter of recommendation is not very difficult if you make it an objective and sincere exercise with an added touch of creativity that never goes waste.