What is a Letter of Recommendation?
Recommendation letters are, as the name suggests, letters recommending or endorsing a person for a certain position. They can be for a former student or employee. In a nutshell, they confirm that the whomever the letter is about was under the supervision of the writer. Like a student is to a teacher or a boss is to an employee. It should include the position of the person, the length of employment or study and some details on what the position, especially when it’s not very common. Most importantly, it should be able convey a reason for recommendation, which are either skills or experience that will make him or her a good candidate for the position he or she is being recommended for.
What is a Recommendation Letter for?
Recommendation letters are hardly ever required in job applications. Requiring them are more common in the academe, for applications for colleges, for further studies, for apprenticeships and internships. However submitting a good and credible recommendation letter along with a job application will almost certainly give that application a boost by highlighting the applicant’s main competencies.
Am I required to give a Recommendation Letter for a former employee?
No, you are not required to give a recommendation if you do not want to. For as long as your refusal is not due to discrimination, you will be fine in refusing to write one. You can simply decline.
Who can write a Recommendation Letter?
A former professor or superior is the appropriate person to write this. This is because to be credible, the recommendation needs to come from someone who clearly had the opportunity to observe how the person works or performs and is therefore qualified to evaluate the same.
A word of caution, if someone asks you for a Recommendation Letter, you may want to check if you are in fact allowed to give one. There are some companies, especially the bigger ones, that have a policy of not giving these letters. Some companies only issue them through the HR department. If you are unsure, check with your HR.
Are Recommendation Letters required to get a accepted or hired?
This will depend on where you are applying. As we have mentioned above, it does not hurt to have a recommendation letter with your application at all. However, you will hardly ever find a job (except in the academe) that will require one. For colleges, especially for further studies, recommendation letters may be required. In these cases, former professors or advisers will be the ones to write them.
What are the main things that go into a Recommendation Letter?
Recommendation letters generally contain the following:
- The position and length of service of the person recommended
- A description of his position
- The author’s position and its relation to that of the person who is being recommended
- The skills and/or aspects of the person who is being recommended that make him or her a good candidate
- The author’s contact details (in case the recipient has some questions)
What are the common mistakes to avoid when writing a Recommendation Letter?
Writing a recommendation letter seems pretty harmless for most people. After all, you’re doing someone a favour: you’re helping someone get a position that they want. Unfortunately though, in some very specific instances this may not the be case. Below is a short list of common mistakes related to writing recommendation letters you may want to watch out for:
- Writing one when you are not allowed to. As mentioned above, some companies have a policy on recommendation letters. Some of them do not allow it while others assign only specific person to write them. If you are part of a big enterprise it will be best to make sure that you are not breaking any rules in giving your recommendation.
- “Over-endorsing” a candidate. The intention is good, but being overzealous in your recommendation or exaggerating them may create some liability on your part. (Of course this very rarely happens, but best to play it safe.) To be safe, first of all, make sure your statements are true and based on facts. Be careful not to sound like you are trying to convince the recipient to hire the person you are recommending. That’s where the liability comes from. That’s not to say you cannot say anything good or remarkable about your former employee or student. You can, just make sure that you can point to facts or instance that made you think or say that.
- Not giving one where you should have. Now, legally speaking, you won’t be creating any liability for not giving a recommendation. However, as a matter of goodwill, not giving a recommendation for someone who deserves this closes the door any goodwill coming from that person.
- Keeping the recommendation “too factual.” Prospective employers look at these recommendation letter for things that they will not find in the CV. If your recommendation letter merely states the position and its description, you might as well not have sent it. This is because it will not help the applicant, it may even be considered as a negative. Be sure to add some meaningful evaluation of the person.
Do I need to use a lawyer, accountant or notary to help me?
Not at all. There is no one more qualified to write the recommendation letter than someone who has had the opportunity to observe and make astute evaluation of the work of the person being recommended. There is no technical or academic requirement for doing this. It is really, to put it simply, just telling the recipient what you thought of the person you are recommending. While the advice of a lawyer always helps in limiting liability, you’ll most likely be ok on your own on this one.
What is the easiest way to create a Recommendation Letter?
Recommendation letters should not at all be difficult to write. After all, as a rule of thumb, you should only write them when you have something good to say. So right off the bat, you already have an idea of what should go in there. It can get daunting as you write because you other things you want to write might be popping in to your head as you’re writing one thing. The easiest way to solve this is to make a list of the characteristics of the person you want to write about. If you know the position he or she is applying for, check your which of the characteristics you listed down are relevant to the position and cross out the ones that are not. Lastly, try and connect the tasks or act that made you think that person has that characteristic. For example, if you wrote punctual, you might have done so because he or she was never late. Once you’ve done this, it would just be a matter of filling in the paragraphs.
Why use our Recommendation Letter generator?
Using our Letter of Recommendation Letter generator will help you get it done quickly but correctly. All you will have to do is fill in the blanks and you’re done. Our form will ask you questions to make sure you’ll be able to put in all the relevant information available.