It is an honor when asked to write a recommendation letter for someone. The person who requests this of you believes that you are the most influential person they know that can help them get what they want. Though it is flattering, you might be wondering how to write a letter of recommendation. Below are some key items to keep in mind to get you started.

write a letter of recommendationCredit: Daniel Jaeger Vendruscolo

Opening Greeting

Address the committee or person who will be reading this letter of recommendation. If you have an individual’s name, be sure start the letter with Dear Mr. or Dear Mrs. If you have a committee name, be sure start with the name of the committee (i.e. Dear Standards or Hiring Committee). If you do not have anyone in particular, you will want to open your letter with To Whom It May Concern.

Paragraph 1: Your connection to one another

In your opening paragraph you will state who you are writing the letter for and for what reason you are writing the letter of recommendation. You must state the relationship and connection with the person you are recommending (i.e. how do you know and how long have you known the person). You’ll also want to add what makes you qualified to write such a letter (i.e. president of an organization, manager or supervisor, professor or instructor, etc.).

Paragraph 2: Your recommendation of the person

In this paragraph, you should state the qualities and traits of the person. Here is where you list the kinds of interactions you have had with the person that leads you to believe this person would be a good candidate for whatever it is you’re writing the letter of recommendation for. You should include several personal examples of the traits and qualifications exhibited by the person you are recommending.

Paragraph 3: Additional skills to highlight

This paragraph is where you will list the traits and qualifications of the person you are recommending that are relevant to what the person is trying to pursue with this letter. Highlight special skills or knowledge or involvement that the person has or has had that would make the person a qualified candidate.

Closing Statement

You will state your assurance in the person as a well-qualified candidate and give your last recommendation of the person.

Feel free to ask for more information from the person to help write your letter of recommendation. A résumé is always helpful. Feel free to also turn down the role as a letter of recommendation writer if you do not know the person well enough or can not attest to the person being a well-qualified candidate. Be sure to refer to others that might be better recommenders.

As a writer of this letter you should have all the information you need to write a well-stated and effective letter. With this information, you should now know how to write a letter of recommendation.