Letter of Recommendation Templates
A letter of recommendation is a letter of reference that vouches for a specific person based on their characteristics and qualifications. Whether you’re an employer or a teacher, you’ve most likely gotten multiple requests to write letters of recommendation in addition to your regular workload. Instead of spending valuable time drafting new letters from scratch, use one of our free Letter of Recommendation Sign Templates to create personalized letters of recommendation instantly. Simply fill out a short form with details about the individual, and watch the template convert that information into a polished, professional PDF document complete with your e-signature! Or, have people fill out the forms themselves — you can easily set up an autoresponder that will instantly email students or employees their letters of recommendation.
Letters of recommendation need to describe an individual’s unique qualities, so why not make your letters of rec look unique as well? Using our free PDF Editor, you can easily modify your Letter of Recommendation Template to perfectly meet your needs — no coding required. In just a few clicks, you can rewrite the body of your letter, change the fonts and colors, upload a new background image, and even add your signature and logo. However you customize it, you’ll end up with a powerful template that saves reference letters as polished PDFs — easy to download, email, print, and access on any device. With our online Letter of Recommendation Templates, you can spend less time crafting reference letters from scratch, focus on providing carefully-thought-out assessments, and get back to your day without skipping a beat.
A letter of recommendation is a letter in which someone vouches for another person based on their characteristics and qualifications. If you’re a supervisor or teacher, for example, you’re likely often asked to write letters of recommendation, so you know how much time it can take.
Instead of spending valuable time drafting new letters from scratch, use one of our free letter of recommendation templates to create personalized letters of recommendation instantly. Simply fill out a short form with details about the individual, and the information will automatically be converted into a polished, professional PDF document complete with your e-signature.
Or you can have people fill out the recommendation forms themselves for your approval. You can easily set up an autoresponder that will instantly email students or employees their finished letters of recommendation.
Letters of recommendation need to describe an individual’s unique qualities, so why not make your letters look unique? Using our free PDF Editor, you can easily modify your letter of recommendation template to perfectly meet your needs — no coding required.
In just a few clicks, you can rewrite the body of your letter, change the fonts and colors, upload a new background image, and even add your signature and logo. However you customize it, you’ll end up with a powerful template that saves reference letters as polished PDFs — easy to download, email, print, and access on any device.
With our online letter of recommendation templates, you can spend less time crafting reference letters from scratch and instead focus on providing carefully thought-out assessments.
Who needs a letter of recommendation?
People need letters of recommendation for all kinds of situations. Common examples are students applying to a college or graduate program, employees applying for a new job or internal promotion, or tenants seeking recommendations from past landlords.
Athletic directors or coaches exploring a new opportunity might also request letters of recommendation, as well as various aspiring professionals looking to build their brand — from restaurateurs and real estate agents to dentists and lawyers.
To get a strong letter of recommendation, you need to ask the right person — like current and past clients, professors, mentors, or supervisors. You also need a professional template like the following:
- Applying for a new job? Ask your former employer or manager to use this employee letter of recommendation for a strong, influential endorsement.
- Considering a specific graduate program? Share this letter of recommendation for student form with your professor.
- Trying to book more babysitting gigs in your neighborhood? Ask your current clients to complete this babysitting letter of recommendation .
- Looking to get a letter of recommendation for a scholarship? Give this scholarship letter of recommendation form to your guidance counselor, professor, or employer to fill out.
How should you ask for a letter of recommendation?
With the right tips and tricks in mind, asking for a letter of recommendation can be a low-stress, successful experience.
Here are three steps you should follow to maximize your chances of receiving a strong letter of recommendation:
- 1. Pick the right person. While your mother or best friend would undoubtedly sing your praises, they usually aren’t the best people to ask. Choose someone who can speak to your professional or academic strengths, achievements (these may differ depending on what you’re applying for), soft and hard skills, and overall character — like a professor, guidance counselor, or former workplace supervisor.
- 2. Do some of the work. Though asking someone to write a letter of recommendation can be seen as a compliment, it’s also a lot of work — especially if the person you’re asking already has a full plate or hasn’t taught or worked with you in a while. To make it easier for them, prepare a cheat sheet or folder full of information they can reference in the letter, like your academic transcripts, résumé, test scores, volunteer work information, and elevator pitch. These documents can help remind them why you’re the best candidate for the school or job.
- 3. Ask politely. For optimal results, ask for the letter of recommendation in person (if time, physical distance, and health concerns allow, of course). Requesting one over the phone or via email or text minimizes the seriousness of the request, and it can result in time-consuming, unnecessary back-and-forth communication. An in-person request also allows you to give them your prepared brag sheet, nail down any additional details, or answer any of their questions to expedite the process.
In addition to this three-step process, remember to ask the individual in advance (give them at least a week or two), be concise during your request, thank them for their time, and keep them posted on the outcome. If they agree to write a letter of recommendation, they likely want you to succeed and will be delighted to hear the result.
How does a letter of recommendation differ from a letter of reference?
Though people sometimes use them interchangeably, a letter of recommendation and a letter of reference actually are quite different.
Of the two, a letter of reference tends to be more generalized. It typically starts with an informal greeting — like “To whom it may concern” or “Dear hiring manager” — and helps someone get an entry-level job or apply for school. Often, you can reuse letters of reference, at least until you gain more work experience.
A letter of recommendation also helps someone apply for a job or school, but it’s geared toward a specific job or a specific school. Letters of recommendation begin with a formal greeting addressed to the decision-maker and include clear-cut, relevant reasons explaining why the applicant is perfect for the particular position, school, or program. Because of their specificity, these letters aren’t reusable.
How to write a letter of recommendation? (Tips)
While letters of recommendation will vary slightly depending on who’s writing, requesting, and reading them, the strongest ones will contain many of the following elements.
1. Formal greeting: A professional, direct greeting (spelled correctly) shows how much you value the reader’s time and how much you want this position. Don’t overthink it; a simple “Dear Dr./Mr./Ms./Mrs./Mx. ___” will suffice. But be sure to get the honorific right.
2. Introduction: Next, state the candidate’s name and what they’re applying for. It’s also smart to briefly introduce yourself and who you are in relation to the applicant. This allows the reader to quickly understand why you’re writing the letter of recommendation.
3. Candidate overview: As the crux of the letter of recommendation, this section should clearly explain why the candidate deserves the job or admission to the school — including detailed information about their character traits, skills, and work ethic. If you want to set your letter of recommendation apart from others, end this section with a personal anecdote. Showing is more powerful than telling, so including a specific example of when the applicant did an outstanding job on a project or helped a colleague meet a deadline can really drive your recommendation home.
Closing statement and signature: Before signing, bring your letter to a close with a simple but effective statement to reiterate what you’ve already highlighted. When you sign the letter of recommendation, it’s also smart to include your official title and contact information in case the hiring manager needs to reach you.
You can type out a letter of recommendation and include the above elements, but for more convenience, choose an online form builder. Letter of recommendation templates are an easy way of doing this. With Jotform’s intuitive interface and drag-and-drop functionality, you can create, customize, share, and even e-sign a stellar letter of recommendation in minutes. This popular platform allows you to streamline and standardize the entire letter of recommendation process — whether you’re writing a letter for an employee, student, or tenant.
In a nutshell, here are the tips for every step when writing a recommendation letter:
Introduction: Start by introducing yourself and your relationship with the person you're recommending.
Purpose: Clearly state the purpose of the letter and specify the opportunity or position the person is applying for.
Specific examples: Provide concrete examples of the person's skills, accomplishments, and unique qualities relevant to the desired opportunity.
Structure: Organize the letter into paragraphs, each focusing on a specific aspect or trait. Maintain a logical flow throughout.
Positive tone: Maintain a positive and professional tone throughout the letter, emphasizing the person's strengths and achievements.
Personal anecdotes: Share relevant anecdotes or stories that highlight the person's character, work ethic, or leadership abilities.
Comparisons: If appropriate, compare the person to others in similar roles or situations to provide context and demonstrate their exceptional qualities.
Address weaknesses: If necessary, address any weaknesses honestly and constructively, offering suggestions for growth.
Conclusion: Summarize your recommendation, reiterating your confidence in the person's abilities, and offer your contact details for further inquiries.
Which items make a letter of recommendation even stronger?
While all of the above items are necessary for an impressive letter of recommendation, many experts believe these three elements are the most important:
1. An authoritative, familiar letter writer: For a compelling letter of recommendation, choose someone of authority — a professor or former manager, for example, over a friend or colleague — who knows you very well. The more they can speak to your strengths and skills, the higher your chances are of finding success.
2. A personal anecdote: Reading about reliable, hardworking, and friendly candidates can get old after a while, which can lead to feelings of déjà vu for the hiring manager. But if your letter of recommendation has a specific example or two citing why you’re reliable, hardworking, or friendly — perhaps you frequently cover shifts for colleagues in need or single-handedly devised and executed a plan to cut down your customer service wait times — your application may rise to the top.
3. A cheat sheet: At the end of the day, no one knows you better than you know yourself, so it’s important to provide your letter writer with a rundown of your level of education and professional accomplishments. Not only will this short statement help them highlight specific elements you’d like to include — ones that best align with the job or school you’re applying for — but it can also help jog their memory to a specific time that you demonstrated your listed qualities.
How long should a letter of recommendation be?
Though a good letter of recommendation should contain all of the aforementioned elements — formal greeting, signature, and contact information — it shouldn’t be longer than a page. It should be tight and focused, clearly and succinctly explaining why you deserve the job or admission, etc., over everyone else, while simultaneously respecting the time and attention of the person reading the letter.
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