24 Letter of Recommendation Templates and Examples

A Letter of Recommendation, or letter of reference, is a document prepared on behalf of an applicant to strengthen their application for a job position or school by highlighting their strengths, performance, and qualifications. It tells the reader that someone who has worked with the applicant believes they are the best person for the position and explains why.

Good letters of recommendation come from people who have had significant and meaningful contact with the applicant, either in school or the workplace. This could be a colleague, employer, or teacher. In this article, we review everything you need to know about reference letters.

What Is a Letter of Recommendation?

A Letter of Recommendation is an official assessment of a candidate’s suitability to a position, made by someone who has the first-hand experience of the candidate’s strengths and qualifications. It is written upon the candidate’s request and sent to the reviewing or admissions committee in support of a formal application. When well-written, it can improve the subject’s chances of getting hired or accepted into a club, society, or educational program.

What to Include in a Recommendation Letter

An effective recommendation letter should include the following elements:

  • The date the letter was written.
  • The sender and recipient names and addresses.
  • The writer’s qualifications.
  • A description of the relationship between the writer and the applicant.
  • A detailed account of the applicant’s qualities, strengths, and qualifications.
  • Examples and anecdotes to serve as evidence.
  • The writer’s contact information.

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

When asking someone to write you a recommendation letter:

  • Send them a template that summarizes your best strengths and qualities.
  • Deliver your request via email so the potential writer doesn’t feel pressured to respond immediately.
  • Give them a timeline that allows at least 1 or 2 weeks of wiggle room.
  • Be patient with the writer. If you have a close relationship and understand their busy schedule, send polite reminders but try not to come off as pushy.

Who to Select to Write this Letter

The best Letter of Recommendation writer should be someone who can truthfully attest to the applicant’s qualities and strengths, because they have had meaningful contact with them. This could be:

  • A coworker
  • A previous employer, supervisor, or manager
  • A loyal client
  • A former teacher or professor

Before You Begin Writing

Step 1: Request a template from the applicant that highlights specific qualities they would like included in the letter. If you cannot immediately access their work record, ask for their cover letter or resume.

Step 2: Research the company or institution to which the application will be sent and tailor your letter to their requirements. If you are too busy, ask the applicant to summarize the necessary details for you.

Step 3: Tailor your tone to the recommendation letter you are preparing.

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation

If you have followed the steps outlined in the ‘Before You Begin Writing’ section, you have what you need to craft a relevant letter of recommendation. You know what the applicant wants included in the letter and are familiar with the recipient’s requirements. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you finish the job.

Step 1: Report the sender and recipient addresses and the current date.

Step 2: Supply a proper salutation.

Step 3: Start by stating your confident recommendation and support for the applicant.

Step 4: Establish your identity and the nature and length of your relationship with the applicant. This will help explain why you are qualified to write this recommendation letter.

Step 5: Briefly praise the applicant and state why you believe they are the best person for the job.

Step 6: In the second paragraph, go into detail about the applicant’s academic and professional strengths and accomplishments. Back up your claims with real-life examples.

Step 7: (Optional) If you hold a managerial position over the applicant, explain why they are leaving your company. The reason should not cast the applicant in a bad light.

Step 8: Emphasize the applicant’s strengths and reaffirm your recommendation for the applicant. Make sure to use words that inspire confidence such as ‘enthusiastic’ or ‘unreserved’ recommendation.

Step 9: Provide your contact information and encourage the reader to reach you for further information.

Step 10: Close with a formal and polite sign-off and supply your name and signature.

Recommendation Letter Format


{Recipient’s Name}

{Recipient’s Address}

{City, State, Zip Code}

Re: Recommending {Applicant’s Name}

Dear {Mr./Mrs./Ms. Last Name},

I, {your name}, am a {describe what makes you a credible reference source e.g. your profession}, and I am proud to recommend {applicant’s name} for {describe position}.

I have known {applicant’s name} for {duration} at {setting} and in that time, have been witness to {his/her} {mention positive qualities}. {His/her} {Describe professional accomplishments} are beyond impressive and {he/she} is {describe personal conduct}.

Because of these reasons, I recommend {applicant’s name} without reservation.

Please contact me at {contact information} if you require any further information.


{Your Name}

{Your Signature}

Sample Recommendation Letter

15 May 2031

Re: Recommending Daniel Wilson

To the Hiring Manager, ABC Company,

I, Chelsea Curtis of Curtis Enterprise, am proud to recommend Daniel Wilson for the position of Chief Financial Officer at ABC Company. I have known Mr. Wilson for over 2 decades, the last of which was the CFO in my company.

As a PhD holder in Finance and Business Management, I can say with authority that Mr. Wilson is a rare talent. His keen eye, dedication, strict adherence to deadlines, and financial foresight are unmatched in the field of finance. He has been voted the Best CFO in New York for the last 5 years.

Beyond his work ethic, Mr. Wilson is very eloquent, sociable, and charismatic. He has helped me close many deals for the company and has seen our GP rise steadily to become the highest in the country.

While I am sad to lose such an asset, I understand that Mr. Wilson must leave New York to be with his ailing parents. I am also confident that he will do just as well, if not better, in your company.

This is why I fully recommend him. Contact me at [email protected] if you require further information.


Chelsea Curtis, CEO Curtis, Enterprise

Letter of Recommendation Examples

Tips for Writing a Recommendation Letter

An effective recommendation letter should be five things; it should be:

  • Relevant to the position to which the applicant is applying.
  • Personable, truthful, and sincere. It should not sound generic or forced.
  • Credible. The source must be someone with authority and significant access to the applicant’s work.
  • Written is enthusiastic and positive language. It should incorporate adjectives such as ‘exceptional’ and ‘impeccable’ when describing the applicant’s talents.
  • Detailed, specific, and backed up by evidence in the form of examples and anecdotes

When and How to Reject a Request to Write a Recommendation Letter

When: You can always refuse to write a recommendation letter if your schedule is too tight and you cannot find the time, but this decision is at your discretion. That said, you must reject a request if you:

  • Cannot write a positive reference letter.
  • Don’t know the applicant enough to write truthfully.

How: The politest way to reject a recommendation letter request is to offer a sincere apology and explain why you are not the best person to write the letter.

Key Takeaways

A Letter of Recommendation can make or break an applicant’s chances of getting accepted into a position. To ensure that only the former happens, the letter should be tailored to the job or position to which the applicant is applying. It should also only highlight their skills and accomplishments as relevant to the position. Finally, it should contain facts backed up by examples and anecdotes as evidence.

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