What should be included in a letter of recommendation?

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If someone has agreed to provide you with a letter of recommendation, but needs your help to know what to include in the letter, consider providing the letter writer with this format guide:

Greeting

To Whom It May Concern:

Introduction (one paragraph)

State that you’re writing a letter of recommendation for the individual. For example: “I am pleased to recommend John Smith.”

Explain how you know the individual and for how long. For example: “Having been John’s manager at XYZ corporation for the last five years, I worked closely with John and was impressed with his work.”

Body (two or three paragraphs)

Include specifics that relate to your working relationship with the individual, such as:

  • A summary of job responsibilities
  • Key achievements/assignments/projects
  • Personal strengths supported by examples

Conclusion

State that the individual would be a desirable employee and mention your recommendation again.

Sincerely,

Signature

John Doe

Additional information to provide the letter writer

If you have a specific achievement/assignment/project that you’d like a particular letter writer to highlight, provide them with this information.

The same approach applies to your job responsibilities and personal strengths. If there are particular items you’d like the writer to emphasize, provide the writer with this guidance.

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