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
Become a Letter Writing Pro!
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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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