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Tips for Writing a Good Recommendation Memo

Colleges and employers get plenty of resumes, cover letters, and transcripts sent to them on a daily basis. Quantitative data has the tendency to become repetitive. A letter of recommendation allows the person to highlight his or her unique skills, strengths, competence, and credibility.

How to Write a Recommendation

A recommendation letter or memo is designed to testify to the skills and abilities of an individual. Depending on the person and their specific needs, you can tailor your style or format.
When you review samples of recommendation letters, you will notice that the basic format is as follows:

  • Opening: Introduce yourself and explain your relationship to the applicant.
  • Body: Give examples of the applicant’s best qualities, being as specific as possible. Put the most important qualities first.
  • Conclusion: End your recommendation with a paragraph that includes a positive statement about the applicant and offers your future assistance if necessary.

Here are a few basic thoughts to get you started:

  • Keep things relatively simple. In most cases, the individual will be planning on using the letter more than once.
  • Ask the applicant if there is any special skill or situation that they would like you to include in the recommendation.
  • Focus on the initiative, integrity, dedication, and drive that the individual has to succeed. Avoid vague compliments and try to provide as many specific details as possible.
  • Confirm the individual’s competence in what they do and their credibility.
  • A recommendation letter should always be sincere and honest. If you don’t think you can give a positive recommendation, you should decline writing the recommendation.

Sample Employment Recommendation from a Supervisor

Mr. Smith has asked me to write a memo of recommendation, and it is my pleasure to do so. I first encountered Mr. Smith while supervising him at Company ABC in Washington, DC. At the time of his employ from March 2013 to January 2018, Mr. Smith was working as a Management Analyst in the Logistics Department of Company ABC. In that capacity, Mr. Smith was forced to confront an array of problems with staff support.
I am pleased to say that Mr. Smith solved each problem with integrity and professionalism. It seems that whenever Mr. Smith was confronted with an obstacle, he adjusted his swing and not only solved the problem but created a work environment that was proactive to productivity. Thanks to his efforts, Company ABC was able to restructure the department and improve operational efficiency by 37%.
All and all, I highly recommend Mr. Smith for your company. His dedication, work ethic, and willingness to think outside the box will prove to be a most valuable asset. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sample Employment Recommendation from a Personal Associate

I am writing to recommend Steve Miller for a position with your company. I have known Steve for the past six years, due to our involvement with the Johnson County Food Bank.
Steve is a dedicated and passionate volunteer, demonstrating a willingness to go above and beyond to make sure local residents have access to the nutritious food they need. He played an instrumental role in instituting our community garden and generated $10,000 in sponsorships from local businesses for the 2016 fiscal year through his participation in our fundraising campaign.
Steve is organized, efficient, and a team player. He would be a tremendous asset to your organization and I recommend him to you without reservation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sample College or Scholarship Recommendation

It is my pleasure to write a letter of recommendation for Hannah Jones. As Hannah’s English teacher at Jefferson High School for the past three years, I wholeheartedly believe she has potential to successfully complete college-level communications coursework.
Hannah is a dedicated and committed student with an innate intellectual curiosity. I have been consistently impressed by her knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure. Her recent series on community nonprofit organizations for our school newspaper inspired a number of her peers to seek out new volunteer opportunities.
As well as being a talented young writer, Hannah has the potential to be a leader both in and out of the classroom. She is always eager to advise her fellow students and is well-known throughout Jefferson High School for her pleasant, encouraging attitude.
Hannah is one of the strongest students I have had the pleasure of working with during my 16 years of teaching. She would be an asset to your program, providing top-notch academic work as well as unbridled enthusiasm for the learning process. If you have any questions, please call met at 555-555-5555.

A Source of Inspiration

Writing a recommendation is a big responsibility, but reviewing some recommendation letter examples can help you feel more confident about completing the task. A recommendation should always be personalized, but these templates can provide some inspiration for creating a concise and accurate description of the individual’s qualifications.



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