How to Write a Letter of Recommendation

If you’ve been asked to write a personal letter of recommendation, you are responsible for giving a straightforward assessment and endorsement – which is not always easy. It must be concise, addressed to the correct person and should emphasize the strengths of the candidate. Review the tips on writing an effective letter below.

Find out whom the letter should be addressed. It is best to address the recipient by his or her complete name and title. Avoid generic formal business greetings.

Mr. Bernard Wakefield

HR Manager

ABC Publishing


Dear Mr. Wakefield:

Show your credibility. Introduce who you are by using a formal company letterhead with contact details and including your title on your signature. It is also important to state your purpose and establish your relationship to the individual.

John Smith has worked under my supervision as a copyeditor for 3 years at Northfolk Publishing. As chief copyeditor, I implement quality control standards in my team’s work.

Identify the qualifications of the candidate. This is the main content of the letter. Make sure to list the work experiences and capabilities of the person. Be specific.

Mr. Smith’s expertise on the Chicago Manual of Style has been an asset to this company. During his service, he has commendably edited over 500 manuscripts.

Describe his or her personal characteristics. Qualities of the candidate that affect work ethic should also be included.

Mr. Smith’s dedication and hard work has set a great example to the rest of the team and will continue to benefit Northfolk Publishing for some time. 

Summarize your recommendation. In this part, suggest how the recipient can benefit from the candidate, given his or her qualifications and characteristics. If necessary, invite the recipient to contact you.

With Mr. Smith’s vast experience as a copyeditor and good working attitude, I am sure that he will be a great addition to your company.  Should you have any questions, please contact me at the number above.

Sign with your full name and title. Also end the letter with a business closing.

Best regards,  


Anne Lawrence

Chief Copyeditor

Northfolk Publishing

With a direct, meaningful, and effective personal letter of recommendation, you can help a candidate land a promising opportunity.


Recommended Links

How to write a testimonial step-by-step.

Review an example testimonial.

How to write a formal business letter.

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