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Job Recommendation Letter Template – with Samples

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The recommendation letter for job is often demanded by employers during the hiring process and can play a key role in whether the applicant in question will gain employment. The letter should ideally be written by a supervisor or manager, someone who has had direct contact with the candidate and who has been able to observe their proficiency first hand. A strong letter of recommendation will clearly outline why the individual giving the reference is qualified to do so, it will be customized to the desired new position if possible, and it will provide specific examples as to why the applicant is eligible for employment. Below we’ve provided a guide complete with examples on how to write a strong and effective letter of recommendation.

Table of Contents

What to Include

This letter should be brief, formal, and specific. It should include:

  • An explanation of how the recommender knows the job applicant
  • A summary of the applicant’s best qualities
  • Specific examples that illustrate the letter’s claims

Who to Select?

The individual selected to provide the recommendation should be a well-respected source, one whom the applicant has worked directly under for a significant period of time. Alternatively, a friend, colleague, neighbor, or family member can be used to provide a more personal, character reference; however, offering insight from a professional standpoint is the ideal. It is important that the person selected can provide an honest assessment of the character and work ethic of the individual seeking employment, they should be able to supply specific anecdotes and examples which speak to the employee’s integrity. A recommendation letter should only be written if a great one can be provided, otherwise, it could have an adverse effect and ultimately be detrimental to the applicant’s chances of getting hired.

Who Can Write a Letter of Recommendation for a Job?

The main point of this letter is to make the case that the applicant will be successful in the target position. The best person to make this case is usually a current or former supervisor.

There are exceptions: If you are a student or recently have been in school, do not have recent work experience, or do not have relevant work experience, a professor or other personal contact might be a better choice to write the recommendation.

How to Properly Prepare

Before writing the letter, the individual providing the recommendation should be given as much information as possible about the position being sought out by the applicant. In this manner, he/she/they can cater the information to highlight attributes which will directly relate to the new job, ensuring the most effective letter possible. If an exact position can’t be pinpointed, the prospective employee should provide the writer with examples of the types of jobs they will be applying for. A resume/curriculum vitae should be given to the writer prior to the composition as it will enable them to see the qualities underlined by the applicant.

How to Write (Format)

A recommendation letter shouldn’t be a 20-page essay, but it must also exceed a paragraph or two. A well-constructed letter will consist of an introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion, and it should fit nicely on a single page. Below we’ll go over each paragraph that should be included in a letter of recommendation in order to ensure that each one serves its purpose as effectively as possible.

Introduction

The introduction paragraph is used to provide the employer with the name of the individual to whom the writer is giving a recommendation, the nature of the relationship held between the writer and applicant, and the qualifications of the writer. The individual giving the recommendation should post their job title and detail whether or not they’ve worked with the employee in a supervisory position. Below there are two examples of a strong introductory paragraph. Note that above the introductory paragraph is the full name, position, company, and address of the employer.

Example 1

Mr. Gregory Johnson
Office Manager
Pendiction Corp.
5th Avenue
San Diego, California 92103

Dear Mr. Johnson,

It is my pleasure to deliver this letter of recommendation for Daniel Harrison as he strives to fill the position of administrative assistant at your reputable company. As regional manager at Perrier Jordan Inc., and as his direct supervisor, I’ve had the opportunity to observe Daniel’s work ethic on a daily basis as he’s done an exemplary job ensuring the efficiency of the day-to-day operations of our office. His organizational skills, along with his friendly personality and professionalism, make him the ideal candidate for any administrative assistant position.

Example 2

To whom it may concern,

I’m very pleased and privileged to be able to provide this recommendation for Joe, who’s worked as a dental hygienist at my practice for the past 4 years. Joe came to us straight from college and quickly became one of our most valuable team members. His interpersonal skills allow him to communicate effectively with all our patients, whether he’s working with a small child or a senior citizen. It’s been a weight off my shoulders knowing that I can trust Joe to provide a thorough cleaning and an accurate assessment of each individual who sits down in the chair. His firm understanding of dentistry and his strong communication skills set the example in my office on how to help our patients attain optimum dental health. I am confident that he will make a valuable addition to any dental practice he joins.

In both examples, the writer makes a statement in saying that it is “their pleasure” or that they are “privileged” to provide the recommendation. This type of writing ensures that right-off-the-bat the future employer gets a positive impression of the applicant. Both examples also give a list the applicant’s qualifications while stating the relationship held between the writer and the employee. Both of these intro paragraphs set up the writer to present an argument in the remaining body paragraphs. You’ll also notice that the Example 2 wasn’t directed at a specific employer and instead used “To whom it may concern”; this is the standard letter salutation should an exact employer/position be unidentifiable ahead of time.

Paragraph #1

The first body paragraph should expand on what was stated in the introduction. A distinct quality/attribute should be focused on, and specific anecdotes/examples should be used to justify the statement. As a general rule, each paragraph should be 4-6 sentences to ensure that the letter as a whole fits onto a single page.

Example 1

As the floor manager at La Riviera, Candice’s interpersonal skills are put on full display. The ease with which she communicates with the kitchen and servers, and the care and consideration she gives to each customer we serve, enables me to rest easy knowing that my restaurant is providing a premier dining experience each night. The grace she possesses as she handles the enormous amount of stress that accompanies this profession is nothing short of astonishing. I can remember a particular instance in which a young line cook cut his finger, crippling the efficiency of our kitchen staff. Candice was able to entertain our guests, compensate them with free desserts and coffee, and attend to their needs as they awaited their meals. Not one customer complained and she even received a 100% tip from one of the tables who had waited over 45 minutes.

Example 2

Compassionate and professional, Angela has been an asset to Moncton General Hospital where she has perpetually provided our patients with superlative medical care. She has the innate ability to strike the balance between sympathetic and pragmatic with each individual case, regardless of the length of her shift or the condition of the patient. The examples are too many to number but her 4 years of experience in our PICU has provided her with more than her fair share of opportunities to test her mettle. In one instance, we had an 8-year-old boy with a severe case of pneumonia experiencing respiratory failure. Angela was able to comfort the distressed son’s mother as she explained the necessity of initiating mechanical ventilation to prevent Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. She clearly stated the risks and answered all the mother’s questions to ensure she understood that everything would be done to restore her son back to full health.

In the first example, the writer focused on Candice’s interpersonal skills while working the floor at a busy restaurant. They provided a specific example of how she is qualified due to her ability to handle high-stress situations with ease. The same can be said in our second example as the paragraph references an actual patient to underline the nurse’s professionalism.

Paragraph #2

Like the first body paragraph, the second and third (if applicable) should provide an attribute and direct examples of that quality in a way that highlights the candidate’s potential to succeed in the position they’re applying for. Let’s look at a few more examples.

Example 1

One of the chief reasons I believe Demar to be a strong asset to your team is his ability to adapt to new work environments. A quick study and critical thinker, Demar took only four months to exceed quotas and sell at the same rate as those with years of experience. He clearly has the intrinsic qualities of a salesman as he soon developed the instincts to identify a strong lead and the persistence to properly close. Just three months ago he broke the regional record for the number of sales made by a junior salesman in a week, providing six happy homes with Zypher Air Purifiers (not an easy sell due to the accompanying price tag).

Example 2

Conclusion

The final paragraph of the letter should provide a brief summary of the body paragraphs and re-state why the applicant is receiving the writer’s recommendation. It’s important to state that the employee comes “highly” recommended to really drive home the quality of their work. The writer’s contact information and an invitation to discuss the applicant further should be presented at the end of the letter as well. A handwritten signature can be given if the letter is to be mailed, otherwise, a typed signature will be sufficient. Below you’ll find a couple of examples of strong closing paragraphs.

Example 1

In conclusion, I’d like to express my strong support for Satinder’s application for the role of vice principal at Campbelltown Elementary School. Mr. Patel is a wonderful role-model, a hard worker, and a passionate educator who I’m confident will surpass your expectations. While we’re disappointed to see him leave our faculty, we’re sure that you will benefit greatly from our loss. Feel free to contact me at your convenience at (876) 543-2334, or at principalsteinberg@smithsonsecondary.org if you have any questions.

Best,

Geoff Steinberg
Principal
Smithson Secondary School
principalsteinberg@smithsonsecondary.org
(876) 543-2334

Example 2

Adriano has my highest recommendation for the position of marketing coordinator at Greg Horton International. His analytical expertise, his extremely strong communication skills, and his ability to work independently and in a team environment make him an ideal candidate for employment. Thank you very much for your time and feel free to get in touch with any questions whatsoever.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Clooney
Marketing Direct
STORK Marketing Group
jclooney@storkmg.com
(567) 439-9823

Notice how each example leaves a decidedly positive final impression on the reader, stating that the writer’s “highest recommendation” was given, or that the candidate has the writer’s “strong support”. A conclusion should be a concise summary of the body paragraphs, ending in a polite sign-off and the writer’s contact information.

Sample 1

Mr. Stephen Kobalski
Regional Manager
Lantech Corp.
22 Wellington Ave
Albany, NY 12204

Dear Mr. Kobalski

It is my distinct pleasure to recommend Carolyn for the position of customer service agent within your reputable and distinguished company. As her direct supervisor, I have been able to observe her exceptional communication skills, her work ethic, and her adaptability first hand, allowing me to use her as an example to the rest of my customer support team on how to provide our clients with the best support possible. I could not be more confident in my prediction that she would be a valuable asset to any company who has the privilege of hiring her. Allow me to explain.

Carolyn is known around the office as a powerhouse simply due to her consistency and unflappability. She provides the same amount of care to our callers at the beginning of the day as she does at the end, often going above and beyond what is expected of her to ensure that our clients’ needs are met by the time they hang up the phone. There’s a particular example that comes to mind in which I found her, working 45 minutes overtime, ensuring that a particularly arduous customer received thorough instruction changing the ink of their printer (we’re an antivirus software distributor).

Carolyn’s charisma and compassion stretch beyond the realm of customer service, making her a valuable team leader and a pleasure to work with. In our weekly team meetings, she is kind and considerate when others voice their concerns, and she’s an expert at providing constructive criticism so the newer employees have the opportunity to elevate their quality of service. This gentle leadership was illustrated when a new recruit received a complaint from an irritated caller. Carolyn listened back to the recorded conversation and rather than demonizing the employee for losing their temper, she gave tips on how to remain patient despite the hostility of the individual on the other end of the line. 

Arguably the most impressive quality Carolyn possesses is her innate ability to adjust to new circumstances. Her adaptability was exemplified when we introduced an online chat feature on our website, a development which demanded the ability to multitask at a high-level from all of our customer service agents. Not only did she integrate this new platform into her workload, she received seven rave reviews from satisfied customers within the first two days of launching our chat feature. To be clear, it is rare that a single employee receives more than two over the course of a few weeks.

In conclusion, I would like to express that I am certain Carolyn would make an invaluable addition to your staff. Her ability to adjust to new circumstances, quietly lead by example, and improve upon any work environment she enters makes her an ideal candidate for a customer service position of any kind. Although we are disappointed to see her leave our company, we trust that our loss is truly your gain. Thank you very much for your time. Feel free to call the below number during normal business hours, or email me at the posted email address if you have any questions at all.

Sincerely,

Alan Cornwall
Customer Service Administrator
Padlock Antivirus Inc
alancornwall@padlockantivirus.com
456-444-4455

Sample 2

To whom it may concern,

It is my pleasure to be able to provide a recommendation for Mackenzie Talisman as he attempts to advance his career through the position of mathematics teacher at your educational institution. As the Principal at Ridgemont High, and a previous math professor myself, I have been able to observe the qualities of a natural born teacher in Mackenzie. His keen knowledge of the subject matter exceeds the qualifications of many university positions, his approach to teaching facilitates his students to learn for themselves, and his compassion for his students is inspiring.

Mackenzie also has a knowledge of mathematics that far exceeds the qualifications of the position. He came to us directly after his student teaching internship, equipped with a masters degree in applied mathematics and an infectious enthusiasm for teaching the subject. This enthusiasm and firm grasp of advanced concepts allowed him to design a course which engaged his students and bring a liveliness to a subject normally consider bland to most teenagers.

Although he’s now been teaching professionally for ten years, Mackenzie brings a youthful approach to his classes, staying up to date on the best practices in math education. I can remember a particular experience where I sat in on one of his classes in which he demanded that the students not open their textbooks for the day. Instead, he introduced an interactive game that launched his pupils into the beginnings of calculus, the result of which allowed his students to receive a fuller understanding of the daunting subject from the get-go.

When teaching mathematics, it’s not uncommon for a teacher to lose a few students when complicated themes and topics are presented. This is exactly where I have found Mackenzie shines most. His compassion for slower learners is what separates him from the rest of the pack as he will gladly stay well after class to assist a student. I’ve seen the results as well, students who have struggled to pass in previous years get into Mr. Talisman’s class and meet, if not exceed, their own expectations.

In conclusion, I cannot recommend Mr. Talisman as a member of your faculty enough. His passion for Mathematics and his inherent ability to educate adolescent minds leaves this ex-math professor simultaneously inspired and humbled. Good teachers only come around once or twice in a student’s schooling, Mackenzie Talisman is one of them. Thank you for your time and consideration. Please feel free to give me a call or send me an email and I’d be happy to provide any further information if necessary.

Best,

Blanche Greenberg
School Principal
Campbelltown Highschool
principalgreenberg@campbelltown.org
(455)-899-9990

Sample 3

Talia Hardencash
Head Chef
Don Quixote
345 Main St
Chicago, IL, 60443

Dear Chef Hardencash,

I would like to take this opportunity to give my highest recommendation to Geoffrey Perrier as he strives to assume the sous chef position at your esteemed restaurant, Don Quixote. He has apprenticed directly under me for the past three years and we have worked together in extremely close quarters for the past five. Not only does Geoffrey possess a creative and inventive mind, he brings to the kitchen a work ethic I’ve rarely seen in my 20 years of experience. His passion for the culinary arts is exemplified in the speed at which he retains knowledge, his eagerness to learn, and most importantly, in the quality of the food he provides our guests.

When I first hired Geoffrey, he was a 22 year old straight out of culinary school and I could tell immediately that he was a force to be reckoned with. In the first two years I had him working on the line he never showed up late and never once complained. My restaurant has grown in popularity over the years and we’ve been able to keep a steady turnover throughout both dinner and lunch services. This generally means long, stressful, hot hours with little to no time for breaks. Geoffrey thrives in this environment. He steadily moved up the ranks, adapting to each new challenge and responsibility with fervor. Within two years, he assumed the position of sous chef, a feat which is unheard of at my restaurant.

Along with his strong work ethic, Geoffrey brings a fresh innovative approach to the dishes he creates. I slowly allowed him to create dishes which would compliment our menu while giving him the opportunity to express himself. The result: rave reviews. Many of his dishes have made it onto our regular menu and most of them have been praised by the restaurant critics we’ve had the pleasure of hosting (read about his work in Bill Daley’s food column). I am constantly impressed by this young man’s ingenuity and fearlessness in the kitchen and he’s left me with a newfound enthusiasm and optimism in the next generation of chefs.

All those who have worked in the restaurant industry know that it can be a hostile environment, one where bloated egos collide with high stakes and extreme time-sensitivity to produce a stressful atmosphere rivaled perhaps only by the operating room. Geoffrey, for whatever reason, is unflappable. His demeanor remains the same; calm and positive. It is for this reason that he is a natural born leader. I can recall one occurrence which would ruin most young chefs; the front of house punched the bills unskillfully, leaving us with a “white-out” within 15 minutes of opening the kitchen. Despite being understaffed that evening, Geoffrey took it in stride and was able to effectively lead his team to ensure that each dish was served on time and with the same high-quality we expect. 

In conclusion, Geoffrey Perrier is, in my opinion, on his way to becoming one of Chicago’s best chefs. His work ethic, his leadership skills, his creative ability, and his humble dedication to the culinary arts is something that comes along maybe once a decade. Although I am saddened to see him leave my team, I am sure that he will be an invaluable addition to your restaurant staff and I look forward to observing his progression as a chef under your expert watch. I trust that you will make the correct decision in hiring this young man. Thank you for your time and feel free to contact me if necessary.

Regards,

Chef Jean Gaspe
Restaurant Indigo
1745 N Hasted St, 60614
jeangaspe@gmail.com
(312)-867-0001


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