Colleges and employers receive plenty of cover letters, resumes and transcripts every year. However, do you think these documents are enough to portray everything about the applicant? Probably not. Hence there is the concept of a Letter of Recommendation (LoR). This document plays an important role in the process for people who are hunting for a job or students who are applying to a foreign university. Since it is such a crucial document it is essential to know some handy tips for a good letter of recommendation if you are going to write one for someone. Read on to know how to make sure how to write a perfect LoR.
Keep in mind that you should be able to explain how the candidate is qualified for a particular course or a role by describing their accomplishments and personality. This letter should confirm their suitability for the position or program they are applying for. The goal is to have you vouch for their achievements, skills and aptitude. Plus to emphasize how they would be a great fit for a position or college program. Here are some tips for a great recommendation letter. Even if you are a student seeking an LoR then read till the end so that when the final document arrives in your hand, you will be able to analyse whether it has all the components required for a good letter of recommendation.
Tips For A Good Letter of Recommendation
Here are some tips that you can use to ensure you have a clear idea of how to go about writing a good letter of recommendation.
Consider The Request Thoughtfully
Before agreeing to write a letter of recommendation for someone, make sure that you are comfortable speaking up on behalf of the individual in a positive way. If you think you will be unable to do the job you should urge the candidate to ask someone else for the recommendation.
Clarify The Purpose
The first and foremost of all tips for writing strong letters of recommendation would be to understand the core purpose well. This will be particularly helpful for you to structure your letter well. For example, if the letter is for a job, find out the job title and ask the job description. Request the individual to share with you any instructions or other information they have received about the letter.
Tailor A New Letter For Each Recommendation
No doubt that it is helpful to have a basic template but make sure you customise each letter according to the candidate’s requirements and qualifications. Write down all the key points of a candidate separately to ensure you don’t miss out on any of them.
Review The Resume
It is advisable that you go through the current resume of the candidate. This will help you get an overview of the types of experience they have had before and their skill set. Having a full understanding of their background can help you curate a more thorough letter. Herein you could also get a gist of their strengths and specific goals they are working towards.
Ask For Some Bullet Points
There’s no one better than the candidate himself who knows why he wants a particular program in a course (or a job, as the case may be). So it is wise to ask them for some bullet points. This will help both parties. You will save time and the candidate will be able to ensure that everything that is important according to them is covered.
Also Read: Things To Follow While Looking For A Job
Prepare A List of Qualities
While you review the resume and job description, compile a list of qualities and accomplishments that you believe can highlight the candidate’s qualifications. Preparing such a list of qualities is another one of the crucial tips for a good letter of recommendation.
Do make it a point to introduce yourself at the beginning of the letter itself. Explain your position and your relationship with the candidate. This will display why you are qualified to recommend this person. You do have the liberty to briefly mention your personal history but do not dive deep.
Provide Instances To Support Your Views
Definitely, it is good to encompass many qualities in your letter but it would be great if you could support one or two of them with real-life instances. Depending on the length of your resume you could increase the examples. For example, when you say the candidate works well under pressure, you could cite an example about how an emergency task once arrived that had to be delivered the next day and was diligently completed by the candidate without any ifs and buts.
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Wherever possible do include numbers. Implying that you should quantify the skills. You could say the candidate consistently held a position in the Top 5 students in his college. Numbers tend to be more impactful which is why having them in your letters is one of the tips for a good letter of recommendation.
Use Active Voice
Usage of active voice instead of passive voice creates a more powerful letter of recommendation. It makes your meaning more clear for the person reading your letter. Fewer words are required to express action in an active voice. This is why the sentences also tend to be more concise.
Include Your Contact Information
Do not forget to mention your contact details. This way you are providing the potential employer or admissions team to contact you for further information. Show an eagerness to share additional insight about the candidate. You can include your phone number or email address in the conclusion of the letter or place it after the signature.
Once you are done with the letter do take the time to proofread it critically. You can also consider reading it aloud so that you don’t miss the details that your eyes skipped while skimming through. Although last, this one is again an extremely critical tip out of all the other tips for a great recommendation letter.
Tips For A Good Letter of Recommendation: Structure
If you are wondering how to structure the LoR then worry not. We have a dedicated section for that as well in our blog on – Top Tips For a Great Letter of Recommendation. Following are the sections that you could use to structure your LoR.
- Body (Details)
Hope this blog helps you in figuring out how to write a good letter of recommendation. Good luck!
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