Recommendation Letter

Take advantage of a recommendation letter to prove your competence.

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In one time or the other in our lives, we are faced with the reality of trying to prove our competence in our area of specialization, either at the point of seeking for promotions at our workplace, seeking for a job, gaining admissions into college, vying for scholarship slots or obtaining special favors. A letter of recommendation is usually given by an authorized person or someone in a superior position qualified to issue a statement about a subordinate. These letters can make or mar a person’s ambition or motive.

What is a Recommendation Letter?

A recommendation letter is an honest evaluation of a person’s skill, work or academic performance, usually written by a superior. They can be reference letters by a former employer to a prospective employer adjudging an employee’s prowess, or letters from a student’s Head of School attesting to a student’s behavior and morals. These letters are also significant in the civil service; they form a basis for the promotion of civil servants. Entrepreneurs and freelancers also get to use letters of recommendations from their former clients (especially notable ones) to contest for gigs and job slots.

However, a recommender may consult his referee before penning down his recommendation letter. This may be the case when the recommender has only little information about who he is about to refer, or when the letter requires specific templates or layout that may require the referee's presence. These letters may be strictly formal or slightly informal.

Reference letter (as it is also called) may be required as just a proof that an employee was on good terms with his former employer before he resigned, or that he wasn’t forcefully sacked. Its uses cannot be undermined in today’s corporate world.

What Is a Letter Of Recommendation Used For?

Job Seeking

Over time, recruiters have learnt to ask their job applicants for a letter of recommendation alongside their curriculum vitas. This can be termed a quick way of determining workers that may be troublesome if employed, or workers that may not contribute meaningfully to the company’s output.

Employees may need to find samples of recommendation letters, design a template out of it and send it across to their former employers to ease stress.

Application for Leadership Position

When applying for a leadership position, either in an organizational or political setting, a recommendation letter will go a long way in convincing one’s appointer(s) of his exposure and capability in the area of group organization. A typical scenario is a case where a former school prefect is applying for a leadership position in a non-governmental organization. He may simply request for a letter of recommendation from his principal attesting to his leadership qualities while he was a student.

Seeking For Special Favors

There are situations that require extra persuasion or convictions before they can be obtained. And the needed conviction may just be a letter of recommendation from a respected personality.

Why Is a Letter of Recommendation Necessary?

To Backup Statements on CVs

A quick way of validating claims written in an application letter is by obtaining a letter of recommendation. It’s easy to put down false claims when applying for a job, usually out of desperation or the need to appear fit for the position. Sometimes, these claims may be true. But there has to be a way of convincing a prospective employer that they are true. In this case, a letter of recommendation becomes invaluable.

To Promote Competence Among Employees

The fact that letters of recommendation are becoming increasingly important for job applications has made many employees take their jobs more seriously. In a bid to get good recommendations for higher positions in their offices, or even better jobs, employees strive to keep by the rules and put out their best output. This inadvertently boosts efficiency.

To Sieve Out Unqualified Applicants

Many applicants have taken to writing false statements on their application letters or CVs. This has continued to be a source of worry to Human Resource personnel during the recruiting process. A letter of recommendation will help to sieve out unqualified applicants.

What Should a Letter Of Recommendation Cover?

If you are unsure about how to write a letter of recommendation, here’s how. If you choose to go by a letter of recommendation template, you must also ensure that it contains the below contents.

The Writer’s Detail

A typical letter of recommendation should contain the writer’s details: his status, residential or mail address and personal contacts. The writer should also state his relationship with the referee and why he is in a good position to give a recommendation.

Referee’s Job Title and Role

The writer should also state the roles and position the referee held in his former company. He should state how well the referee performed while in the company.

Period of Duration

The writer should also indicate how long the referee worked with the company, his promotion date, resignation date and any other significant date.

Review about the Referee

The writer can go ahead to write about the candidate’s excellent skills and qualifications. He can write about his experience working with the candidate and his thoughts or prediction of the candidate’s performance in his new place of appointment. If the writer is willing to receive further questions, he may indicate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use a recommendation letter sample to draft mine?

Yes. Letters of recommendations are always similar in structure. You can always look up for examples of letters of recommendation to familiarize with the way it looks.

Can I get a free reference letter template online?

Yes. You will find tens of letter of recommendation examples with different artistic designs and themes on recommendation letter template websites.

Do letters of recommendations have the final say?

No. Although most employers rely on the statements written on letters of recommendations, they may not always be true. However, employers may choose to contact the writers of the letters or even do a background check on the validity of claims on the letter of recommendation.

What happens if my former boss refuses to pen down a letter of recommendation for me?

Well, you may try convincing him or her to see reasons with you why you need to get the letter of recommendation. If you are not in good terms with him or her, you may try making peace. If these options fail, you may proceed to find someone else with similar authority.

What makes a recommendation letter excellent?

For a recommendation letter to truly give you that edge above the competition, it must be written to suit the application. Start with a strong opener, and explain why you are very qualified for the position.