Writing a Good Job Recommendation

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One of the best feelings (and at the same time the most nervous) I have is when someone asks me to write a letter of recommendation for them. In most cases I feel happy that I can help someone in their career. The nerve racking part knows what to write. How can you describe a (hopefully) good coworker without sounding cliché?

I included an actual letter of recommendation (names are changed and the letter was edited to protect identities) and included my comments afterwards in bold. I’m not a career expert, but I think this can help out some people.

Date (Use Current Date)

To Whom It May Concern:

I had the opportunity to work with Sally for 3 years and I must say that it was a pleasure. Sally began working with our Marketing Department during a time of great transition for our Company.

I am responsible for inventory and ordering of supplies for our busiest laboratory. The success our department depends greatly on the ability of the Procurement Team to acquire necessary supplies with very short notice. I have found Sally to be effective and professional in her expertise as a purchasing clerk as well as demonstrative of a key player to the success of Generic Company.

I am most proud of the fact that Sally understands the importance of making the best of the opportunity to work for Generic Company. She takes great pride in her work and it shows each time.

Sally has demonstrated in the workplace that she is indeed a great addition to any group she’s associated. I wish Sally much success in all endeavors.

Yours truly

Green Panda

Tips/Thoughts

  1. Include the current date with letters. Hopefully you stay in contact with them, so they can automatically update this as needed.
  2. Using the person’s first name makes it seem as you have a comfortable relationship with the person being recommended.
  3. Please do include an honest assessment of the work relationship. I hope it’s positive. If it’s negative, don’t lie! Be polite and decline to write a letter for them.  After all the prospective employer is looking for someone skilled AND a people person.
  4. Describe the person’s position and the context of how they help the company.
  5. Describe your position and how it relates to the recommended person. It helps with establishing your creditability in this recommendation.

Someone wrote a similar recommendation for me and I’m so grateful. It captured my personality, work ethic, and our positive work relationship.

What’s the best letter of recommendation you wrote? Who wrote the best letter for you?

Photo Credit: Paul Worthington

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3 Responses to Writing a Good Job Recommendation

  1. I want a recommendation signed “Green Panda.” That’d rock.

    Um, on topic I really like your suggestion of showing how the person’s position fit in with the company and how it related to your position.