Writing A Letter of Recommendation to Help Your Favorite Jobseeker

A Helping Hand

A good letter of recommendation only takes a few minutes to write, but it may make the difference of a lifetime for a job seeker.

Work is hard to find these days, and every edge a job seeker can have is helpful. One thing many workers and employers overlook is the value of a good letter of recommendation. A letter of recommendation can give a job seeker's interview a very personal touch. Not only is this job seeker giving names and phone numbers of references, s/he is bringing in testimonials. This little personal touch may give that job seeker the edge when it comes time to choose the right person for the job.

Who Can Write a Letter of Recommendation?

Letters of recommendation can come from anyone who has worked with the job seeker. This could be on a voluntary basis or for some small job that may not even be related to the work the job seeker ultimately wants. If you are in a position to write a letter of recommendation for someone, you are in a position to give that person a real helping hand. Don't be daunted. Writing a letter of recommendation is not difficult. Here are a few tips on how to do it.

Type It If Possible

Photographer: CLIX (everystockphoto.com) Copyright: stock.xchng Image License Agreement.
Photographer: CLIX (everystockphoto.com) Copyright: stock.xchng Image License Agreement.

It Doesn't Have to be The Great American Novel!

When you write a letter of recommendation, you want to bear in mind that it's most important qualities are brevity, verifiability, and that it be factual . Don't get all flowery. Keep it to "just the facts" and be sure you include your own credentials and contact information to give it some legitimacy.

If you have it, put your letter of recommendation on your letterhead. If not, use a good quality of plain stationary (no cute little flowers and bunnies, please). Type it if you can. If not, write it as neatly and legibly as possible.

Start out with a formal greeting: "Dear Sir or Madame:" or "To Whom it may Concern:". Then go on to state who you are and what your experience with the job seeker (Mr. X) is. For example, you might say, "I am a retired school teacher with mobility problems. I have known Mr. X for five years through mutual acquaintances at church. I hired Mr. X to shovel the snow off my sidewalk after the heavy snows last winter." This establishes that you had a need for the services of Mr. X, and you have experience with him.

Next go on to say what Mr. X did for you that made his work stand out. "Not only did Mr. X do a quick and thorough job of shoveling the snow, he also took the time to salt my steps and walk." This shows that Mr. X did a very thorough job. If the person just did a satisfactory job, say so. Be honest.

Follow this with your recommendation. "Thanks to his extra care and attention, when Mr. X was finished with the job, I felt completely safe to go up and down my steps and walk. I will happily hire Mr. X for this kind of work again, and I heartily recommend his work."

Finally, end your short but sweet letter of recommendation by making your letter verifiable. Assure the reader that s/he may contact you for more information. Say something like, "If you have any questions regarding Mr. X's work, please feel free to contact me." Be sure to include your contact information either in your letterhead or just above your greeting or below your signature. This can be name address and phone number, or if you prefer for security reasons, just phone number.

Close with "Sincerely," "Regards," "Cordially," or some other businesslike closure. (No XOXO!)

This letter will only take you a few minutes to write, but it may make the difference of a lifetime for another person. In these very uncertain times, small, personal touches like this go a long way to make life a little easier. Conversely, if you are a job seeker, these tips may help you in asking someone for a letter of recommendation. Knowing that they don't have to write the great American novel may help people who know you feel more comfortable putting their experience with you in writing.

Copyright: SuzanneBennett: November 1, 2008

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Comments 22 comments

linjingjing profile image

linjingjing 7 years ago

Writing A Letter of Recommendation

This article is very helpful to me


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Oh! good! I'm glad I could help you! :)


fluentinjapanese 5 years ago

I also found this article to be helpful. I knew one or two things, but since I have an important project coming up and needed to be able to write this, it helped me to write a letter that will have an impact on the applicant's process of application in a big way.

Thanks!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

Oh good! I'm glad you found it helpful! :)


akshaynam 5 years ago

hey thanks alot for this.. helps me alot..

I have a doubt though, if the recommendation letter is running to 2pages [This is a recommendation letter for a student wanting to go for his masters].. Should the second page also be printed out in the letterhead? Please let me know how to go about it..

Waiting for an early reply

Thanks


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

I believe the second page should be on plain paper of the same type and quality as the first page with just an abbreviated heading so that it can be identified if it becomes separated from the first page; however, it's best to edit your comments down to one page. Add a notation that you are available for comment in case the recipient needs clarification on any of your points. :)


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

Glad to be of service! :)


mishel ronld profile image

mishel ronld 4 years ago from New York, NY

An interesting and well researched article

Well done.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks!:)


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

Oh, Steven, I wish I had a schedule! I TRY to do something with at least one HUB a day, but I often just don't have the time because I have a lot of orders to write articles for private clients. If I don't have time to write an all new article (which is most of the time) I try to at least spruce up an existing article by adding a summary, cleaning up links and so on. I also post a link to it on my redgage account with a related paragraph as a blog post. Thanks for asking! :)


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

I think that's fine! I am just trying to update all of my HUBS with summaries and new links when possible :)


Indian Chef profile image

Indian Chef 3 years ago from New Delhi India

Very well written hub.. voted up and useful.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! I'm glad you liked it! I hope it's helpful to you! :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

This will be very helpful for those who are asked to write a letter of recommendation. Voted up and useful.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Going to pin this to my Useful Tips and Ideas board on Pinterest. This is useful information!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Many thanks! :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

According to my earlier comments, I did not share this hub so doing it now. This can literally change a person's future job prospects if done correctly. Thanks for writing this information. We know of several people who got jobs because of my husband writing good letters of recommendation for them.


rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

Great topic and helpful tips! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

@justmesuzanne i find that letters of recommendation will often help alot more than just refrencing someone. The letters let the potential employers know who you are as a person and if you could handle the job or not. Voted up and shared!


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 3 years ago from India

justmesuzanne , I never had had any letter of recommendation and surely never was in position to write one for someone. but reading your hub I am sure to get the letter from various people I know, so it would help me in job. Voting up and useful.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Many thanks! :)

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