Write a Recommendation or a Reference Letter • Example Letters, Plus Guides and Samples
See our recommendation-letter articles.
How to write this recommendation letter:
- If you do not know who will receive your letter of recommendation, another salutation such as "To whom it may concern" is acceptable. You may include in the subject heading the fact that you are writing in confidence.
- Express your positive feelings about writing the letter. Then explain how long you have known the person and what your professional relationship has been (supervisor, teacher, co-worker).
- Discuss the person's qualifications for the position. Statements of past performance, accomplishments, and contributions are helpful. Also mention any honors or awards the person has received during your professional relationship. In order to communicate your positive recommendation, the statements that you offer should be detailed and also be relevant to the desired position. The greater the detail, the better your letter will communicate your positive recommendation. General comments provide a neutral recommendation or suggest that you do not really recommend the person highly, perhaps because you have reservations about his/her prospects or performance.
- If appropriate, give reasons for the termination of the individual's employment.
- Close with a clear statement of your recommendation and a willingness to cooperate further.
Example Letter #1
I am very pleased to write this letter of recommendation for John Doe. I have worked with many teachers and teacher interns over my thirty-year teaching career, and he stands out among them. John was a sixth grade substitute Social Studies teacher during February and March of 2018, and I had the pleasure of working with him on our team. I found him easy to work with and a personable individual.
I was impressed that John took full responsibility as a permanent teacher, not as a temporary substitute. He put in time and effort above what was expected of a substitute, staying until 8:00 pm, if necessary. He participated in all conferences and meetings held during his interim.
It is never easy to replace a teacher. This sixth grade team can be a difficult group with many needs. John made the transition easy by developing a good rapport with both students and parents. Students respected John Doe, and responded to his caring manner and firm control of the class.
John is a very personable man. Attractive and professional-looking, he has good interpersonal skills and is easily understood by students and parents alike. He carries out every responsibility well and in a timely manner.
In closing, I would like to say that when John Doe leaves Imaginary Middle School, its loss will be another school's gain. I believe he would be a tremendous asset to any school. He is a colleague with whom I am proud to teach.
You may reach me vial E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 555.5555. I will be happy to provide additional information or answer any questions, if needed.
Example Letter #2
Employment Review Committee:
I am pleased to recommend Jane Doe as a candidate for the position of office manager. Ms. Doe has been a capable manager in our Springfield office since 2018.
During her tenure there, Jane almost single-handedly doubled the revenue of her division. In 2019, she implemented a restructuring of the sales force, markedly increasing sales and reducing travel expenses. Her interpersonal skills and emphasis on efficiency has made Springfield our most productive branch. I regret that she has decided to leave us.
Ms. Doe has expressed her desire to move on to a position that affords her greater flexibility and growth potential. I enthusiastically recommend her for this position. If you have any questions I can answer about Ms. Doe's exceptional record with our company, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Example Letter #3
It is my pleasure to recommend John Doe as a new employee in your company. I have worked closely with him for more than five years as his supervisor and have found him extremely competent and enjoyable to work with. He is bright, innovative, and dependable. Among his many accomplishments, he suggested and developed a procedure that resulted in an annual savings of over $100,000. I am sorry to see him leave, although I wish him well in his future employment. Valuable employees are sometimes difficult to find.
Example Letter #4
It is with pleasure that I write this letter of recommendation for John Doe who, under my leadership, has served as supervisor of production for the past three years.
From the beginning, John has steadily moved upward in the company. He began as a programmer in our maintenance department, then soon graduated to a senior position in research and development, and now holds a supervisory position.
Throughout his employment with us, he has consistently displayed a remarkable ability to cope not only in high stress situations, but to actually thrive in them. Last year, when notified of a shortened deadline on an important project, he managed his team with confidence and efficiency, despite the time constraints. We were all surprised and grateful when he produced the completed project ahead of schedule.
I am sorry that John will soon leave us, but I know that this move is important to him for personal reasons. I give you my highest recommendation with confidence that John Doe will use his experience and abilities to serve you well.
Example Letter #5
Letter of Recommendation for Jane Doe (confidential)
TO: Office of Graduate Admissions, Institute of Design
FROM: John Doe, Industrial Designer
I'm honored to recommend Jane Doe for admission to graduate studies at the Institute of Design. Since Jane will be visiting you soon, the following information should help introduce her as well as convey my wholehearted recommendation that she be admitted to your program.
I've worked with Jane closely for three years, during which time we have collaborated on many projects. Her role has been that of a consultant to our architectural firm. Jane and I have also conversed privately on theoretical and practical matters of style, aesthetics, and philosophies of design. I've always been impressed by her know-how. She uses good design principles in all her projects--from arboretums to documents.
The hallmark of Jane's character is her honesty. This extends from those areas where it is easily seen in relationships and business transactions, as well as in integrity of thought. She approaches any analytical task with an exacting eye that is scientific, thorough, and meticulous. This is the kind of care and concern I mean by integrity of thought.
As a student of the humanities, Jane pursued a course of study that could serve as a model for any general education curriculum. She has not only studied Shakespeare, but mathematics as well.
Jane is one of the most pleasant persons you'll ever meet or work with. She is forthright, but neither intimidates nor intrudes. She is genuinely friendly as well as honest. You will also be impressed with her authentic and professional manner.
Jane Doe has my unqualified professional endorsement and my deep personal respect. Please feel free to call at any time if I can be of further assistance.
Example Letter #6
Describe the job:
John Doe and I have had the pleasure of working together since December, 2017, when he was hired by our company to fill the role of Director of Operations. We were in strong need of a hands-on, process-oriented individual to oversee our day-to-day operations. John turned out to be just the man we needed.
Write a statement of results:
John implemented training, measurement, and efficiency procedures that significantly strengthened our overall production results. He works hard and demands significant performance from his subordinates, and will spend the time necessary to ensure that they are properly trained.
List best characteristic:
The characteristic that is most commendable in John is his desire to improve, not simply his projects or subordinates, but himself as well. We have a very different culture at Doe Corporation. As he realized the changes required to work effectively here, he went to work analyzing himself, seeking feedback and then making changes to his style, approach, and manner. I believe he was able to make significant improvements because of his commitment to do so. This and other valuable characteristics, combined with future potential, should be valuable to any organization interested in developing their staff members.
List other good qualities:
Lastly, John is a great motivator and mentor. The employees in our organization were always inspired and prepared to meet new challenges because of his motivational style of management. John is a natural born leader. He is confident and decisive. He makes everyone around him better and would be an excellent addition to any company.
Example Letter #7
(Here list general description of abilities)
I would give John Doe the highest recommendation for any management or director position. John is a true people builder who has worked hard to develop his skills as a Director of Training, while working for me when I served as the Executive Vice President of Operations here. His motivation and mentoring skills are some of the best I have seen in my experience in the industry. He would surely do wonders for your organization. Here are some of the accomplishments he has achieved at Doe Corporation:
(Here give more details of the person's accomplishments with your company)
* Directed all training for the operation, which included 22 call centers throughout the U.S.
* Helped prepare for the ISO Audit and Certifications.
* Successfully opened new call centers from the ground floor in four different states.
* Performed branch manager, supervisor, and training certifications and compiled operations manuals.
* Correlated the training and implementation of new client startups.
* Helped me to initiate the ground floor of my E-commerce company in which he performed many of the same duties that he did with me at Doe Corporation.
(In the conclusion, create an overview of the person's accomplishments, according to your experience)
John is absolutely one of the most dynamic and successful individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with. If you give him the opportunity, I am confident he can offer valuable improvements in your company's procedures.
Please accept this recommendation and contact me if you need additional information.
Example Letter #8
I am happy to recommend an outstanding individual for employment with your company. This applicant demonstrates a strong work ethic, sound moral reasoning, and overall impeccable character. I have no doubt that she would make a valuable addition to your organization.
I have known Jane for quite some time. She knows how to find a place in a team environment, and is able to tackle all the challenges that accompany a leadership role. With the possession of effective communication skills, this applicant is highly adept at building rapport with clients, coworkers, and supervisors. I am confident that she has the skills, experience, and personality traits necessary to meet the demands of a growing company.
Jane is an outstanding individual who has a lot to offer. Any company would be very fortunate to have her in its organization. I can honestly say that this individual goes the extra mile to get the job done and pays careful attention to details along the way. If you're looking for an intelligent and dedicated employee, you need not look any further.
Example Letter #9
I am writing today to whole-heartedly support (Name of Applicant) in his application for the (Name of Grant/Scholarship/Residency). Speaking as an established practitioner within the discipline of (Name of Discipline), I judge that the applicant's proposed project would, at the very least, foster much needed discussion and exploration. I would expect the applicant's project to result in nothing less than significant, if not ground-breaking, contributions to the field of (Name of Discipline). I strongly recommend (Name of Applicant) as the right choice to receive the (Name of Grant/Scholarship/Residency).
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
1 If you do not know who will receive your letter of recommendation, another salutation such as "To whom it may concern" is acceptable. You may include in the subject heading the fact that you are writing in confidence.
Sample Sentences for Step 1
- TO: University Admissions Committee
FROM: Doe Corporation
DATE: September 1, 2019
RE: John Doe, Applicant for Admission (Confidential)
- Recommendation for John Doe
- Letter of Recommendation for John Doe
- Introducing John Doe
to the University Admissions Committee
- To Prospective Employers
Sample Phrases for Step 1
- To whom it may concern
- reference: John Doe
- with regard to
- re: John Doe
- recommendation for
- letter of recommendation for
- to the prospective employer
2 Express your positive feelings about writing the letter. Then explain how long you have known the person and what your professional relationship has been (supervisor, teacher, co-worker).
Sample Sentences for Step 2
- I am delighted to be asked to provide a reference for John Doe. I first became acquainted with Mr. Doe in 2018 when he joined the development group that I supervised.
- It is a pleasure to recommend John Doe as a sales supervisor. Mr. Doe has worked directly under my supervision for the past eight years.
- I am pleased to comment on Ms. Doe's performance as a secretary. I have known Ms. Doe since our graduation from State University in 2018, when we both started work at the Doe Corporation.
- I have been Mr. Doe's employer for more than two years, and I can recommend him for your consideration, confident that his character and scholarship will measure up to your university's high standards.
- As a former employee of your firm who has some understanding of your needs, I am pleased to offer my personal assessment of Ms. Doe's qualifications.
- It has been a pleasure to be Mr. Doe's supervisor since 2018.
- I have no hesitancy in writing a letter of recommendation for Mr. Doe, a superb mechanic.
- It is a pleasure to write a letter of recommendation for Ms. Doe.
- Mr. Doe has asked me to write a letter of recommendation to accompany his application for employment. I am very pleased to do so.
- I have known Ms. Doe since 2018, when she enrolled in my accounting class.
- I was Mr. Doe's teacher in two advanced therapy classes during winter semester, 2018.
- Mr. Doe, about whom you inquired in your letter of December 19, was a district manager with us from March 2010 to July 2018. Subsequently; he left to pursue other entrepreneurial ventures.
Sample Phrases for Step 2
- I am honored to support John/Jane Doe as a candidate for the position of
- I am pleased to provide a reference for
- I am pleased to write a character reference for
- I am delighted to be asked to provide a reference for
- I am happy to recommend
- I am pleased to comment on
- I can offer the highest recommendation for
- I first became acquainted with
- first came to my attention when
- has worked under my supervision for
- has worked directly under my supervision
- It has been a pleasure to supervise
- I have known Mr./Ms. Doe for
- I have no hesitation in recommending
- I have been his/her supervisor since
- his/her performance as a
- his/her qualifications and performance
- I have had the opportunity to
- in response to your enquiry,
- in the past two years,
- it is a pleasure to recommend
- was a student in two of my classes
- was employed by us from
3 Discuss the person's qualifications for the position. Statements of past performance, accomplishments, and contributions are helpful. Also mention any honors or awards the person has received during your professional relationship. In order to communicate your positive recommendation, the statements that you offer should be detailed and also be relevant to the desired position. The greater the detail, the better your letter will communicate your positive recommendation. General comments provide a neutral recommendation or suggest that you do not really recommend the person highly, perhaps because you have reservations about his/her prospects or performance.
Sample Sentences for Step 3
- While she was with us, Jane supervised the maintenance of all computer networks. This responsibility involved working with 42 separate offices.
- His extraordinary ability to analyze problems and outline necessary courses of action always kept us on schedule.
- She was always punctual and willing to accept new assignments.
- Her ability to interact with customers and resolve their complaints in a pleasant manner gave us a significant advantage over our competitors.
- In the past 10 years, he has submitted 23 suggestions that the Doe Corporation has implemented, saving the company thousands of dollars.
- In a class of 30, he completed the course with the second highest grade.
- In the first six months of her employment with us, her innovations saved the company over $12,000.
- By restructuring the packaging process, he was able to reduce delivery time by 20%.
- Her keen sense of organization and unlimited energy led to her promotion a year earlier than usual.
- He has remarkable ability to motivate co-workers and to build a spirit of camaraderie.
- Her greatest talent is in developing innovations for new products.
- I cannot overemphasize his track record in writing successful proposals.
- When our production date was moved up, he willingly worked overtime every day for eight weeks to help us catch up.
- She is an active and articulate participant in staff meetings and policy discussions. She volunteers useful comments without being prodded and, when called upon unexpectedly to answer a question, she can always frame an intelligent response.
- He grasps new concepts quickly and accepts constructive criticism and instruction concerning his work.
- She finishes her work on schedule. When she has a concern or question about an assignment, she speaks her mind clearly and directly, giving voice to what others may feel but cannot or will not say.
Sample Phrases for Step 3
- a creative problem-solver
- always cheerful and dependable
- always met his deadlines
- always behaves professionally
- among her significant contributions to the company are
- broad range of skills
- I can attest to his integrity
- careful attention to detail
- comments are well thought out and clearly articulated
- communicates her ideas clearly
- communicates effectively in writing
- completely loyal and trustworthy
- deals sensitively with customers and co-workers
- demonstrated particular strengths in
- discharged her duties satisfactorily
- follows tasks through to completion
- fulfilled the job requirements admirably
- gets along well with others
- handles administrative tasks efficiently
- handles responsibility well
- has a take-charge personality
- has a flair for organization
- her sensitivity and concern for others
- innovative and creative
- a tireless worker
- mature beyond her years
- intelligent and ambitious
- personable and easy to work with
- keeps calm under pressure
- meticulous attention to detail
- one of our finest, most well-rounded undergraduates
- outstanding leadership abilities
- oversees a meeting tactfully and effectively
- punctual and hard-working
- self-motivated individual
- demonstrated a wide-range knowledge of
- willing to go beyond what is required
- willing to take on new responsibilities
- works efficiently and effectively
- works independently and effectively
- works well with little supervision
4 If appropriate, give reasons for the termination of the individual's employment.
Sample Sentences for Step 4
- I believe he left us to pursue a more challenging job opportunity.
- He left the company when we were downsizing our Boston operation. He was the most recently hired.
- We are sad to see him leave our firm, but we understand that he needs to relocate for family considerations.
- The loss of government contracts has caused us to curtail operations in our Springfield plant where she was employed. If circumstances were to change, we would not hesitate to rehire her.
- We are reluctant to let him go, but recognize that this position would be an excellent professional opportunity for him.
- Although we wish she would stay with us, we don't want to stand in the way of her professional advancement.
- We are sorry to learn that she is leaving; our loss is clearly someone else's gain.
Sample Phrases for Step 4
- a more challenging job opportunity
- I am sorry to see him go
- I am reluctant to let him go
- I am sorry she is leaving
- we are sorry to lose her
- we are sad to see him leave
- as a result of a layoff
- contributions will be missed
- gave no reason for his resignation
- good career move for her
- have curtailed operations in
- in line with the company's policy
- it is with regret that we
- left us to pursue
- most recently hired
- needs to relocate because
- our loss will be someone else's gain
- understand that he needs to
- when we were downsizing
- we will certainly miss
- wish that she could stay
- wish we were in a position to
- would not hesitate to rehire
5 Close with a clear statement of your recommendation and a willingness to cooperate further.
Sample Sentences for Step 5
- Mr. Doe will be a great addition to your staff. If I can assist you further, please call.
- I am pleased to give my unqualified recommendation for John Doe to be your personnel director.
- Because she has been so innovative and conscientious, I do not hesitate to recommend her very highly to your company.
- I have no hesitation in recommending Mr. Doe to you as a highly effective manager; I believe he will exceed your expectations.
- Jane Doe has my strong recommendation. She will be a credit to your firm.
- I am confident that Mr. Doe will continue to be very productive. He has my highest recommendation.
- If I could, I would rehire her because I am sorry to see her go. Nevertheless, I know that this move is important to her family.
- I give her my highest recommendation, without reservation. Please call me if you have further questions.
- I have nothing but admiration and respect for John. He leaves my company with my highest recommendation.
- It is satisfying to be able to give him my highest recommendation. I hope this information proves helpful.
- Based on her performance with us, I am confident she will do very well in any sales context.
- I know of no reason why you should hesitate to hire Mr. Doe.
- I offer my highest recommendation for Ms. Doe as a prospective member of your task force.
- I enthusiastically recommend Mr. Doe as a promising candidate.
- Seldom have I been able to recommend someone without reservation. It is a pleasure to do so in the case of John Doe.
- I will be pleased to answer any additional questions you may have.
- I am very interested in Mr. Doe's application and will be happy to provide further information.
Sample Phrases for Step 5
- an asset to your organization
- every confidence in his/her ability to
- I give my unqualified recommendation
- has always proved satisfactory
- has my highest recommendation
- I have admiration and respect for
- I have no reservations in
- I hope this information proves helpful
- if I can further assist
- if you have further questions
- if you need additional information
- if you would like more information
- recommend without reservation
- recommend him/her very highly
- writing to request your favorable consideration of
- should be given serious consideration
- should you have any questions
- under other conditions with another supervisor
- under the right circumstances
- I will be happy to speak with you
- will be happy to speak with you
- will meet your expectations
- will be successful in any enterprise he undertakes
- will be a credit to your
- will measure up to your high standards
- will be a great addition to
- would be an asset to any company
- would be a valuable addition to