How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for a Person


A letter of recommendation is often used by individuals when applying for jobs or admission to school. The letter is beneficial because it highlights an individual’s accomplishments and abilities with credible information. Writing a letter of recommendation for someone takes time, thought and energy, especially if you have never written one before.

Plan accordingly. Set aside at least two hours to write the letter. A sloppily written letter written without an investment of time and effort will not be beneficial to the person you are writing for.

Write a list. You should compile a list of key words and phrases regarding the person you are writing the recommendation for. The list should include his or her accomplishments and qualities. Resume-Resource notes, "Such a list will help you avoid the most common mistake made in these letters: vague, metaphoric writing." Your list may also include professional or academic qualities, personal qualities, specific skills, weaknesses and future potential.

Use proper format. The top left-hand side of the letter should include your address, phone number or email address. Your contact information is beneficial in case the recipient of the letter has questions for you. The contact information should be followed with the date. Recommendation letter templates can be found at various websites such as

Address the letter appropriately. If you do not know who the letter is going to, address it with, "To Whom it May Concern."

Introduce yourself. Your first paragraph should state who you are, your relationship to the person and how long you have known the person. notes you should also state your credentials, adding, "Your stature is an asset to the person for whom you're vouching. To be of help, you need to show that you are credible and your perspective is relevant."

Introduce the person. The second paragraph will give the reader a general impression of the person.

State the person’s most notable qualities. This should be included in the third and fourth paragraphs. Each quality should be a separate paragraph. Back up the qualities with specific examples.

Write the conclusion. In the conclusion you should state why you think the person is suitable for the position to which they are applying and how you think the person will contribute to the position. Resume-Resource adds, "Strongly reaffirm your confidence in the applicant's abilities and conclude by telling the readers they should feel free to contact you in case they need more information."

Use good-quality paper.

Proofread your letter. This will help you find any mistakes.

A handwritten letter of recommendation will reflect negatively on the applicant, as it implies you are not serious about the letter. Always type a letter of recommendation.