Writing a letter of recommendation for employment can be difficult because another person’s career could hinge on your letter’s content.
To help you draft a well-written letter of recommendation no matter the circumstances or occasion, below we’ve included four different situations in which you might need to give a coworker, employee, or friend a reference letter, with templates and examples to guide you.
Table of contents:
- Written by a manager for an employee
- Written for a coworker
- Character reference for a friend
- LinkedIn recommendation
1. Letter of recommendation from a manager
As a supervisor, a recommendation letter written by you holds a lot of weight.
It’s important that you learn how to write a recommendation letter for your employee so that it’s well-written, touches on all necessary information regarding the employee’s work performance and personal characteristics, and is as convincing as possible.
Here are four details you should keep in mind when writing an employee recommendation letter:
- Because companies take management seriously, you should mention whether or not you managed the person you’re recommending and for how long for.
- Give detailed examples of how the person you’re recommending used their skills and knowledge to benefit your company in an impressive way. Use hard numbers when describing your accomplishments.
- Ensure you include relevant skills and achievements for your employee’s target company or job.
- When describing the personality traits of the person you’re recommending, include those that help them contribute to a positive work environment and also enable them to succeed professionally.
Here’s a template that any manager can follow to write a recommendation letter for their employee:
Now, here’s a professional, completed employee recommendation letter sample:
January 29th, 2018
Ms. Carolyn Dearie
Target Robotics Inc.
123 Company Address
Los Angeles, CA, 90005
Dear Ms. Dearie,
It is my pleasure and honor to recommend Ileana Flores for the role of Project Manager at Target Robotics. I have worked with Ileana for 4 years as her manager at Dolphin Technologies, where she used her excellent leadership skills to deliver spectacular results in the role of Assistant Project Manager. I am confident that Ileana’s exceptional skills, professional experience, and personal qualities will make her a powerful asset at Target Robotics.
As an Assistant Project Manager, Ileana constantly demonstrated extensive knowledge of project management tools and techniques, as well as superb communication skills. In particular, her in-depth knowledge of Scrum Methodologies helped increase the amount of projects completed on-time and within budget by 23%. Moreover, her uncanny ability to facilitate clear communication between different teams and departments ensured misunderstandings were few and far between.
What’s more, Ileana’s extraordinary focus and strategic way of thinking always made her a stand-out member of the team. Whenever there are problems or flaws in the production process, she showcases her superb analytical qualities to quickly identify the issue and deal with it before it can become too serious.
[Optional Section(don’t include if the reason for departure could be seen negatively)]:
Unfortunately, because of her mother’s medical condition, Ileana had to move out west and we no longer have the pleasure of working with her. Her loss is greatly felt, but she will undoubtedly continue to thrive at Target Robotics.
Ileana has my highest recommendation for this position. I have no doubt she will make a strong addition to your team. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding her candidacy or past work.
2. Letter of recommendation from a coworker
It can be a little daunting when a colleague asks you to write a recommendation letter for them.
You may not know how to write a recommendation letter for your coworker and feel you’re not qualified to.
But rest assured, you’re capable and qualified. To help you write a thoughtful recommendation letter for your colleague, we’ve outlined five steps to focus on while writing:
- Create a strong base for your recommendation by outlining your working relationship. For example, perhaps you were on the same team or worked on certain projects together.
- Cite detailed examples of your colleague’s achievements and skills you witnessed firsthand.
- Highlight the positive aspects of their personality that make them a desirable person to work with.
- Emphasize the value of your colleague as an asset to their target company. Maintain a positive and enthusiastic tone throughout the letter.
Here’s a coworker recommendation letter template that you can use to get started writing:
Now, here’s a completed sample of a recommendation letter for a coworker:
January 29th, 2018
Ms. Sandra Adams
123 Company Address
Los Angeles, CA, 90005
Dear Ms. Adams,
I am more than pleased to have the opportunity to recommend Zachariah Scott for the role of Senior Digital Marketing Specialist at Ion Software. I was honored to work alongside Zach for 3 years on the marketing team at Genos Tech. Zach was always an outstanding member of our team, and I have always been impressed by his professionalism and admirable personal qualities.
As an Online Marketing Specialist, Zach constantly demonstrated his exceptional analytical skills and extensive knowledge of best SEO practices. In particular, his intimate familiarity with the intricacies of Google Analytics enabled him to reduce the bounce rate on our most essential pages by an average of 20%. Moreover, he consistently produced top-quality content that ranked highly for all of our target keywords.
In addition to Zach’s impressive portfolio of professional accomplishments, he has one of the best personalities I have ever had the joy of working with. He is a fun-loving and friendly individual who always treats everyone in an amicable and welcoming manner. There is no one at our company that does not think of him fondly.
Unfortunately, because of his wife’s need to relocate for her job, I will no longer have the pleasure of working with Zach. Having witnessed his long track record of success and admirable character, I assure you that he will more than excel in the role. The words “our loss is your gain” have never been more true.
I wholeheartedly recommend Zach for this position. I am confident he will become an invaluable addition to your team. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding his character or past work.
3. Sample character reference letter for a friend
Writing a character reference letter (or personal reference letter) for a friend can be a tremendous aid in helping them land a job. However, figuring out precisely what to write can often be tricky.
To help you portray your friend’s character in the best way possible, here are four steps to follow when writing a personal reference letter:
- When writing a character reference for a friend, you’ll have less of a formal tone, but remember to keep your letter professional and polite.
- Highlight your friend’s skills and achievements outside of the workplace that would be useful for their target job.
- You’re likely intimately familiar with your friend’s personality, so ensure you highlight their positive character and personality traits.
- Additionally, describe how your friend’s positive personality traits would benefit the company in a professional setting.
First, here’s a character reference letter template to use as a guideline when you’re writing one for a friend:
Now, here’s a completed sample of a character reference letter for a friend:
January 18th, 2018
Mr. Erik Epiciano
Owner & Manager
Italian Pasta House
123 Company Address
Los Angeles, CA, 90005
Dear Mr. Epiciano,
I couldn’t be happier to recommend my close personal friend, Bianca Jones, for the open wait staff position at the Italian Pasta House. I have known Bianca for 8 years and can confidently say that she is a person of impeccable character.
Since we first met, Bianca’s incredible friendliness and interpersonal skills have always impressed me. I remember one instance in particular when she accidentally bumped into an angry man who subsequently began spouting curses at her. She utilized her exceptional ability to remain calm in the face of confrontation to diffuse the situation with a warm smile and a sincere apology.
More importantly, everyone who interacts with Bianca is always blown away by her selfless, kind, and warm-hearted nature. Whenever there is any need for volunteers in our town, Bianca always enthusiastically signs up without the slightest hesitation, eager to help in any way she can.
It is truly a privilege and an honor to be considered Bianca’s friend, and I wholeheartedly recommend her for this position. I assure you that her commitment to her professional career, as well as her high moral values, are without question. I have no doubt she will make a strong addition to your team. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
4. LinkedIn recommendation sample (for a colleague)
Many people don’t know exactly how to write a recommendation for a colleague on LinkedIn.
At first glance, LinkedIn recommendation letters seem entirely different from a formal recommendation letter, but they’re essentially just a more concise version.
When writing a recommendation letter for a colleague on LinkedIn, focus on the following four points:
- Keep your recommendation letter concise. Employers browsing LinkedIn profiles want a good idea of a candidate’s strengths in as little time as possible.
- Consider what paragraphs you would include in a full letter, and then condense each into one or two sentences. For example: how you know the candidate, their professional strengths, and their positive personality traits.
- Make your recommendation personable. Tell a story that allows the employer to feel like they’re getting to know the candidate better.
- Don’t forget to include some examples that demonstrate the candidate’s abilities or traits you mention.
Here’s a LinkedIn recommendation letter template you can follow as a guideline:
Now, here’s a completed LinkedIn recommendation letter example:
Few people are fortunate enough to have the chance to work with a Sales Associate as outstanding as Jim Harding. I met Jim when we worked together at Viper Tech, and I had the pleasure of working with him for 4 years.
I was constantly impressed by his exceptional ability to close a deal, and I’ve never seen anyone exceed sales quotas as effortlessly as Jim.
Not to mention, his bright and cheerful personality always improved the mood in the office. I would highly recommend Jim for any position he chooses to pursue.