What should be included in a letter of recommendation?

job-search-help-references-and-recommendations

Most people you ask will be willing to write you a letter of recommendation, but few will know how to format this letter or what to include to best help you find a new position.

After you’ve contacted someone who 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 reference letter 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 reference letter writer

  • If you have a specific achievement/assignment/project that you’d like a particular reference letter writer to highlight, provide them with the details about 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.
  • In terms of length, let the writer know that a one-page letter would be ideal.
  • If you are asking your former manager for a letter of recommendation, check to see whether the letter could be written using the company’s letterhead to give it a more professional look.

Who to Ask to Provide a Letter of Recommendation or be a Job Reference

Example of Job Reference List Format

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