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Professional Letter of Recommendation Template – with Samples

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A professional letter of recommendation is usually written by an employer on behalf of an employee who is seeking other job opportunitiesThis letter can be very useful in helping a job applicant secure a particular position. It will be important for the person writing the letter to know whether their reference is in regards to specific job opening or if it is a general letter of recommendation to be used in an employment search.

The most important information to include in a professional letter of recommendation is in what professional capacity the author has known the applicant and for how long. It should also detail the employee’s past responsibilities, and it should highlight their personal skills, abilities, and talents. For a recommendation letter to be effective, the author should frame the candidate in the most favorable light and use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate and bolster the author’s argument.

Table of Contents

Who to Select?

While a professional letter of recommendation is generally written by an employer, it can also be written by an internship supervisor, a teacher, a professor, a client, or a colleague. The person chosen should be able to positively reference the candidate’s character and their suitability for a desired position. If possible, the author should be given a description of the job the candidate is applying for and its requirements so that they can best tool their letter to match the job description.

How to Write (Format)

A professional letter of recommendation generally follows the standard business letter format and should fill one page. The business letter format necessitates having a letterhead, which includes the author’s name, title, and contact information, the date, and the addressee’s name, title, and contact information. If the letter is intended for general use, then the author should forego the addressee information and put “To Whom It May Concern” as their salutation. Following the letterhead and salutation, the general format starts with an introduction, followed by one or more body paragraphs, and ends with a conclusion and an invitation for further contact.

Introduction

The introductory paragraph should briefly describe the author’s professional relationship with the candidate and the length of time that they have known the applicant. It should also express the intention of the letter, which is to recommend the employee/candidate in question.

Example #1

Francis Bacon
Manager at Princeton Electric
4123 Blink St
Beverly Hills, CA, 90210

April 19, 2017

Joseph Baker
CEO Alt Power Associates
6161 Big Plaza
Chicago, IL, 66161

Dear Mr. Baker,

It is with great pleasure that I write to you in recommendation of Dale Davies for the position of Shop Supervisor. This fine young man has worked on my team for the past 3 years, and during that time I have come to consider him an invaluable asset.

The above example is addressed to a particular person in regard to a specific position that the candidate is applying for. When writing a letter on behalf of someone who is leaving their current job, it is important to detail their reason for leaving (in this example: seeking promotion).

Example #2

January 21, 2017

Charles Robertson
Bookings & Management at BookerT Productions
4191 Fairville Place
Nashville, TN, 61611

To Whom It May Concern,

For the past two years, Julie Styles has been working as an unpaid intern here at BookerT Productions. Julie has proven herself to be responsible, dedicated, and personable. She is more than capable of assimilating and performing new tasks, and so it is with great enthusiasm that I can personally recommend her for any position in booking and artist management.

This example is written by someone who acted as an internship supervisor. While it is addressed as a general letter of recommendation, it specifically recommends the candidate as being capable within their desired field.

Body Paragraph(s)

The body of the letter will contain one or more paragraphs which describe the duties the candidate carried out as an employee or intern, their positive character traits, and any value that they added to a team or enterprise that went beyond their job description. If possible, specific examples should be used in order to make the recommendation more convincing.

Example #1

As junior editor and contributing writer, Charles has received many accolades for his work. I remember when his story on the crumbling local infrastructure, gained nationwide coverage and drew attention to a critical issue. In large part due to Charles’ concern for his local community and his unwavering research methods, our city has turned a corner in its history and overcome the bureaucratic corruption which was bogging down development plans.

Charles puts in long hours in the office and his door is always open. In addition to being an excellent writer and editor, he is also a great team leader and a pleasure to work with.

Here, the author uses a specific example to highlight the employee’s exemplary work and their positive impact upon the local community.

Example #2

In preparing the contract for this building project, John and I made a very clear plan and budget. When he and his team were able to finish work in advance of the projected deadline and within our agreed upon budget, I was very impressed. Over the years, I have dealt with many contractors and I can attest that Mr. Travis displayed a level of professionalism that is seldom matched.

In this example, a client describes how the candidate was able to make a plan that they both could agree upon and delivered services on time and within their budget. A client, as opposed to an employer, will only have spent a limited amount of time in their dealings with an applicant, so it will be important that they have many positive things to say regarding their experience.

Conclusion

The conclusion should feature a summary of the candidate’s qualifications, an restatement of the author’s recommendation, an invitation for further communication, a formal sign off, and the author’s signature above their typed name.

Example #1

With his outstanding communication skills, Mr. Vivekananda will make an invaluable asset to any sales team and he merits my highest recommendation.

Please let me know if you have any other questions (I can be reached by email at eroberts@company.us).

Regards,

______________

Elliot Roberts

In this conclusion, in summing up the applicant’s value as an employee, the author focuses on their excellent communication skills. By focusing on a stand-out trait, this recommendation concludes with a clear indication of the type of value that the candidate has to offer.

Example #2

It has been a pleasure to have Edward as an employee and I am confident that he will continue to distinguish himself at his next place of employment.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information or assistance regarding Edward’s application.

Yours Sincerely,

___________________

Jane Jacobs

(545) 712-9876

The above example demonstrates a simple and straightforward conclusion which indicates that the applicant is good employee and offers a clear invitation to contact the author for more information. This type of conclusion is most appropriate for a general letter of recommendation as it describes the candidate in more general terms.

Sample 1

Charles Westfield
Owner & Manager, Salty Custom Shirt Design
500 Park Street
Salt Lake City, UT, 89701

April 30, 2017

Wendy Albright
Starlight Communications
999 First Avenue
Vernon, UT, 77079

Dear Ms. Albright,

I am writing this letter to support Stephen Dunham’s application for the position of Web Manager & Graphic Designer at Starlight Communications. For more than a year, Stephen has worked for me making custom T-Shirt designs for various businesses and individuals. He is a talented designer and a hard worker.

Most of the work that Stephen did for me was making designs and communicating with clients. However, he also redesigned the company website, making it much more visually appealing and user-friendly. He is extremely web-fluent. In addition to updating the company website, Stephen improved the company logo and designed company stationary and business cards.

The volume of work that we get can be extremely demanding, but Stephen always delivers his work on schedule and is capable of planning his workflow to suit company needs. It is for this reason that I give you my highest recommendation to accept Stephen for this position. In my experience there are not many people who are able to hold up under severe pressure to consistently deliver quality results.

If you have any other questions regarding Stephen Dunham’s application for the position of Web Manager & Graphic Designer, feel free to contact me.

Regards,

______________

Charles Westfield
cwestfield@email.com
555-555-5555

Sample 2

April 16, 2017

Mandy Wilson
Owner and Manager
Dial 411 Events, Inc.
6 Treeline Ave
Freedom, UT, 80801

To Whom It May Concern,

I would like to recommend Joseph Rajid for a position at your organization. Joseph has been an Event Planner and team manager here at Dial 411 Events for the past three years. During that time, he has proven himself to be extremely skilled in all areas of event planning.

As a Team Manager, Mr. Rajid displays the organization, confidence, and professionalism necessary to fulfill this leadership role. He maintains a staff team that is always punctual and hard-working. I have consistently received extremely positive feedback from clients regarding the success of events he managed, as well as the quality of service provided by our staff. If anyone is to take credit for these positive reviews, it is Joseph.

Having planned events from small-scale gatherings, all the way to galas attended by thousands, Joseph has the experience in the field that is required to plan successful events. One particular contract was the engagement party for the daughter of a diplomat. The client had in mind an event so ambitious and intricate in its scope that I thought it a fairly overwhelming prospect. Joseph took on the contract and quickly sourced special contractors to assist with some of the more extravagant details. The event was such a success that it ended up being featured in a photo spread of City Life Magazine.

We are all sad to see Joseph leave and he will be sorely missed. He has been a model employee and a company asset from day one.

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of recommendation on behalf of such a deserving candidate. If you require any further information, do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

__________________

Mandy Wilson
wendywilson@411events.com
313-421-4135

Sample 3

Ted Cross
CEO, Cross, Inc.
10 Main Street
Charleston, CA, 90208
555-555-5555
tcross@email.com

July 12, 2017

George West
CEO, West, Inc.
55 Easy Street
Umbridge, NY, 50601

Dear Mr. West,

I am writing this letter in support of Tracy Keenan’s application for the position available at your organization. Tracy has been a secretary here at Cross, Inc. for the past six years. She has been a pleasure to work with and we are all sad to see her go. Through her diligence and hard work she has made herself an irreplaceable presence in the office.

I can assure you that Ms. Keenan has more than proven her capacity to perform to the utmost at her job. Beyond her ability to follow instructions, organize materials, and sustain a busy schedule, Ms. Keenan is always looking for more work to do. It is this desire to always go the extra mile which makes Tracy such a valuable asset.

Tracy Keenan will leave a difficult position to fill here, but we all wish her the best as she moves to Umbridge. She has my highest recommendation. If you need any additional information, please contact me.

Best Regards,

_________________

Ted Cross


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