Recommendation Letters for Employment

Tips and Examples for Writing a Recommendation Letter

Businessman signing letter
PhotoAlto/Odilon Dimier / Getty Images

Has someone asked you to write a letter of recommendation for a job? If you agree to write the letter, be sure to take the time to write a letter that connects the person’s skills and abilities to the specific job. To do this, get all the information you need about the job listing and the person’s work experience.

One way to help write a strong recommendation letter is to look at recommendation letter examples.

Below is advice on how to write a strong letter of recommendation for employment, plus a number of letter examples for different situations.

Tips for Writing a Letter of Recommendation for Employment

Think carefully before saying yes. Make sure you feel comfortable writing a positive recommendation for this person before agreeing to write a letter. If you feel you cannot write a positive letter, say you cannot write the letter (you can simply say you feel you do not know the person’s abilities well enough to write for them). It is better to say no than to write a negative letter.

Get all the information needed to submit the letter. Make sure you have all the information you need. Know whom to send the letter to (including the name of the hiring manager, if known), what format to send the letter in (emailbusiness letter, etc.), and any other important information. Also ask to see the job listing and a copy of the person's resume.

This way, you can be specific in your endorsement of the candidate.

Connect the person to the job. The most effective recommendations show a strong connection between the candidate’s skills and experience and those required for success in the position they are applying for. Look at the job listing and the person’s resume, and think of ways in which the person has demonstrated the skills necessary for the job.

Use examples. Include specific examples of times the candidate demonstrated the skills and abilities necessary for the job. For example, if the job requires someone with strong customer service skills, describe a time the person went above and beyond in customer service.

Edit, edit, edit. Be sure to thoroughly proofread the letter or email before sending it. If you are sending a letter, make sure you use business letter format. If you send an email, be sure to include a clear subject line (such as the name of the job candidate, the job title, and the phrase "reference letter"). Your letter can help the candidate get the job, but if it is sloppy, it can actually hurt the candidate’s chances of getting the position.

Look at letter samples. When writing a recommendation letter for employment, it is helpful to review what information is typically included, and common formatting. Looking at examples of recommendation letters can help you to make your endorsement of the candidate as convincing as possible.

Employment Recommendation Letter Examples

Here is a selection of recommendation letters covering a wide variety of situations that you can use to get ideas for your own letters.

Different Letter Formats and Tips

Email Reference Letter Example
What an email reference letter should look like.

Recommendation Business Letter Format Example
Here is a recommendation written by a manager, using business letter format.

Recommendation Letter Template
Use this template as a starting point for writing your own letter of recommendation.

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation
Advice on how to write a letter of recommendation, including what to include in each section of the letter, how to send it, and more sample letters of recommendation for employment.

Letters from Employers

Employment Recommendation Example by a Manager
Here is a sample recommendation letter by a former manager.

Recommendation Letter from a Previous Employer
Job candidates often ask previous employers for recommendations. Here are two examples – one is a letter, and the other is an email.

Reference Letter for a Former Employee
Here is an example of a recommendation letter written by a manager for a former employee.

General Recommendation for a Former Employee
This is a recommendation letter for a former employee. The letter is for any job related to the person’s field, rather than a specific job.

Recommendation Letter from a Manager
As a supervisor, you may be asked to write a recommendation for a current member of your team. Here are three example letters for this situation. One is written voluntarily by an employer, and another is written by a manager who is leaving the company.

Letter from Coworkers, Friends, and Specific Types of Employers

Personal Recommendation Letter for Employment 
Personal letters of recommendation are those written by family members, friends, and close acquaintances. They speak to the person’s character rather than their work experience. Here are two examples of personal recommendation letters. One is written for a family’s nanny, and the other is written for a student in the writer’s extracurricular Spanish club.

Personal Recommendation Letter
Personal references can be valuable, as they can often highlight relevant skills that the candidate has utilized in areas of their life other than their current career. Here are two personal recommendation letter samples (also known as character references).

Recommendation Letter for a Coworker
How to write a great recommendation letter for a coworker, a sample letter, and tips for what to include.

Recommendation Letter for a Summer Employee
Especially for students, some of the strongest references may come from the supervisors of their summer jobs. It is important that you take the time to write your summer employees strong letters of recommendation.

Reference Letter from a Teacher
Teachers are in an excellent position to provide recommendations for their current and former students. Here is a recommendation from a teacher for a volunteer job.

More Letters of Recommendation

Reference Letter Explaining a Layoff
It can be helpful to have a manager explain in a reference the reasons for a layoff.

Recommendation Letter for a Promotion
As a manager, you are the best person to endorse one of your employees seeking promotion within the company. Here are two example letters recommending someone for a promotion.

Read More: Requesting References | Student References | Personal and Character References | Sample Recommendation Letters | Official Transcripts