Need guidance on writing a letter of recommendation for an employee? You are at the right place.
Managers or supervisors often write reference letters of recommendation for employees and job seekers from time to time.
During a new job search, aside from sending a cover letter and resume, having the endorsement of previous supervisors can be very helpful in landing new positions.
What is Included in a Letter of Recommendation?
1. Specific Details
When a previous employee asks you to write a reference letter for them, they should provide you with elaborate details so you can make your letter complete and specific.
If they have not worked for you for a while, they should provide you with a newer copy of their CV so that you have the updated dates and when they worked for you and can see what additional skills they have added since then.
A job posting or description for the position they are applying for is also helpful. If they have the hiring manager's name, they should let you know that as well.
2. Follow the Correct Format
If you send your letter in a business format, you will start with your personal details, like contact information, followed up by the present-day date, and then the hiring manager's personal details, such as contact information.
Your greeting should be followed by the letter's body paragraph, where you will begin with the duration of how you have known the candidate and in what capacity.
You can then detail their skills, experiences, and strengths, which make them exceptional employees. In addition, it can be helpful to use specific achievements and anecdotes to emphasize the qualities which will be most relevant in the position they are seeking.
In your conclusion, mention your utmost confidence in your candidate, and offer your strong recommendation for them for the role.
Thank the hiring manager for their valuable time. Let them know you are available to answer any further questions or clarification.
Your personal contact information should follow your name if you send an email, and it's not in the heading.
A breakdown of the format is as follows:
The greeting and heading should have your information and a greeting or introduction.
The heading should include your contact details, name, title or school name, date, address, and city.
If you are writing a letter of reference, include a salutation such as (Dear Mr., Dear Dr., etc.).
If you write a general letter, use "To Whom It May Concern" or don't include a salutation. Start your note with the first paragraph if you don't have a greeting.
The body is where you describe any of the individual's relevant skills, explain why you're a good reference, and why the individual is qualified.
A strong letter has a body paragraph containing three paragraphs. These include further information about the job seeker, which a potential employer wants to know.
Writing a recommendation letter requires telling an employer about the prospective employee's conduct, how they behave around other employees, and how they are a valuable asset to the next company.
The number one paragraph of a recommendation letter explains your connection to the person you are recommending, why you are qualified to advise the person for employment or school, and including how you know them.
The number two paragraph of a recommendation letter elaborates on the information about the individual you are writing about, what they can contribute, why you recommend them and why they are qualified for a position. If needed, use multiple paragraphs to provide details.
[Name] graduated with honors in [specific major] and was always focused on how his future would progress. He knew he wanted to pursue a [career name] early on and worked as a research assistant, independently and in groups.
I believe that [name] would be an asset to your department, as is an incredibly qualified and bright individual who is a pleasure to work with. He brings a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and energy to his studies.
When writing the third paragraph, ensure that the recommendation letter includes information on how the person's skills align with the position they are applying for.
Ask for a copy of the person's resume and a copy of the job posting so you can target your letter accordingly.
I believe that [name] would be an excellent addition to your international [department] team. When I worked with her previously at XYZ, I was awed by her ability to close a sale by communicating the effectiveness of our products to our clients.
During the years I worked with her, she was personally responsible for adding several new clients in [country names].
This section of the recommendation letter summarizes why you are recommending the person. Use phrases like "strongly recommend," "recommend without reservation," or "candidate has my highest recommendation" to reinforce your endorsement.
During my acquaintance with Joanne, she has been efficient, professional, organized, and a fantastic team leader. As a result, she has my highest recommendation for the office manager position at DEF, Inc.
The last paragraph of your recommendation letter consists of an offer to provide more information. Include a number within the paragraph, your email address in the return address section of your letter, or under your signature, and give the phone number again.
Truly, signature (hard copy letter)
Name of the recommender
Send an Email if Appropriate
Occasionally, an employee will ask you for an email reference, especially if they are on a time crunch. In this case, after omitting the address paragraphs, just follow the business letter format.
Your subject should contain the individual's name, detail on how this is a reference, and the job title of the role they are applying for, for example, "Subject: [name] - Reference for .
Standard Letter of Recommendation for Employee
A typical recommendation letter example is:
I am writing to recommend [employee_name]. They worked with us at [name of the company] as a and [reported to me] in my position as [insert job title].
As an employee, [employee_name] was always [mention quality].
I've always put high focus on [insert quality] among my team members, and [employee] never failed to deliver. For example, when [insert example].
[Employee] is a delight to work with, and I wouldn't hesitate to hire [him/her/them] again.
Should you have any more questions about [him/her/them], feel free to reach me at [phone number].
[Your name and signature]
Specialized Letter of Recommendation for Employee
A specialized reference letter includes:
Dear Ms. [name],
I'm writing to recommend [name] for the position of [department] associate at [name] Company.
I've worked with [name] for the past [number of years] at [company] in [city], and I have always been impressed with his ability to handle customers and work well with his colleagues.
I have been [name's] manager for the [number of years] he has worked with us. He greets customers joyfully, and his expertise is such that he can always answer anyone.
His performance numbers have multiplied each year, and we are sad to lose him as an employee, but we understand and respect his decision.
[Name] would be an excellent addition to your team.
He has an excellent rapport with his colleagues, and they enjoy working with him. I'm sure he'd be ideal as an assistant manager.
Please feel free to contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or cell phone (000.123.4567) if you have any questions.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Recommendation Letter for Employee From Manager/Direct Supervisor
To Whom It May Concern,
I would like to recommend [name] as a candidate for a position with your organization. As Staff Assistant, [name] was employed in our office from years 2015 - to 2020.
[Name] did a remarkable job in this position and was an asset to our organization.
She has excellent communication and written skills, is highly organized, and can work independently.
[Name] was responsible for supervising the department office assistants during her tenure with our company. Under [name] management, these assistants were responsible for many of the office's essential clerical and administrative functions.
[Name] scheduled and managed multiple assistants to maintain efficient office operations.
She developed a program to train these assistants that led them to become well versed in operations half the time they used to.
Sharon had an excellent rapport with multiple constituents, including clients, employers, and professional organizations.
Her ability to communicate effectively with all these people via email, on the phone, and in-person made her an asset to us.
She would add value to any company, and I recommend her for any endeavor she chooses to pursue. Contact me if you have any other questions.
Recommendation Letter Written for Employee for Character Reference Letter
Personal reference letters are written by friends, family members, and acquaintances. They speak to the person's character rather than their work experience. Here is an example of personal recommendation letters.
I'm writing this reference in support of [name]. [Name] was my college roommate, and we have been friends for the past decade. So if you are looking for a smart, talented, and diligent candidate, [Name] is the perfect match.
As a student, [name] was constantly engaged in classes—he studied not just to get good grades but also to truly understand the material. So it was no surprise when he displayed these characteristics once he started working.
As a friend, [name] is caring and supportive. When my dad passed away shortly after graduation, [name] was one of the first people I told. [Name] has a trait for maintaining and building solid friendships.
These skills would enable him to excel as a salesman for [company].
Jason would be an asset to any company, and I wholeheartedly recommend him. Please get in touch with me if you have any further questions.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Recommendation Letter for Employee by a Co-Worker
Subject Line: Recommendation for [name]
As [name]'s teammate at XYZ Agency for the past [number] years, I have benefited from his tireless work ethic, creative problem-solving, and willingness to do whatever it takes to create products that will translate customers' visions into reality.
[Name] is directly responsible for increasing client retention by X percent. I know that his reputation and commitment helped the company bring in several large new clients, of which [name] is the most visible example.
As a colleague, [name] is incredibly generous with his time and expertise, including everything from [years] of management experience to an expert-level knowledge of Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator.
I am happy to answer any questions you might have about his specific skills and experience.
Thanks, and best regards,
Recommendation Letter for Employee for a Promotion
This reference letter template exhibits a letter of recommendation for promotion is effective if it comes directly from a manager or supervisor. An example is:
Name of the person you are sending the email to
I would like to recommend [name] for Marketing Manager at [company name]. [Name] has worked in the Marketing department for five years, and when I joined last year, I immediately recognized her as a mentor, as the person to ask questions. She is a leader, and I envy her organizational skills.
[Name]'s ability to plan a strategy and make sure that it's implemented accurately and quickly has contributed immensely to the recent success in our department. She was the team leader on our most successful projects.
She is hardworking and creative and helps out every person on other projects. I believe the department would continue to grow and thrive with [name] as Marketing Manager.
Her experience and knowledge of the industry with the company make her an excellent candidate for promotion.
Please let me know if I can offer additional information.
Signature (hard copy letter)
However, in case you do not feel that you can genuinely endorse or vouch for this person for the specific position, or if your company does not support providing references, then you should politely refuse their request for a reference.
It is fairer to not write a recommendation than to write one expressing anything less than complete confidence in the employee for a new job.
These six recommendation letter templates can help you stand out in front of hiring managers. Conclusively, a compelling letter contains specific examples, one or two sentences on your ability to handle tasks, your satisfied customers, leadership skills, how you establish productive relationships in the workplace, and your interpersonal skills.
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He’s a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.