Recommendation Letter: Template, Sample & How to Write

You like to think of yourself as a helpful sort of person, we all do. When someone asks you to do them a favour, you’re keen to help. Work long enough in the public or private sector or academia and the time will come when someone—a colleague, subordinate or student—asks you for a recommendation letter.

 

Saying, ‘sure, no problem’ was the easy part. Now you’re looking to find out how to write a letter of recommendation. This article has you covered with a sample letter of recommendation, a complete writing guide, and plenty of UK-specific advice. Read on to have an amazing recommendation letter in no time.

 

Create an effective CV in minutes. Choose a professional CV template and fill in every section of your CV in a flash using ready-made content and expert tips.

 

Create your CV now

 

Create a professional CV now!

cv builderNO
cv exampleYES

 

The LiveCareer online CV maker lets you build a professional CV fast and download it as a PDF or DOC.

 

Letter of recommendation template

 

Skye Mills

Senior Lecturer in Computer Science

University of Manchester

68 Front St

Manchester

M19 0BG

070 5108 2138

skye.mills@lcmail.co.uk

 

5th March 2022

 

Jamie Warren

Human Resources Manager

ABC Company

60 Berkeley Rd

Manchester

M14 0RB

 

Dear Jamie,

 

It is my pleasure to enthusiastically recommend David Abbott for the position of junior IT specialist with ABC Company.

 

I have been lucky enough to teach David in various courses over the past two years, and we are currently working on his honours thesis proposal. Having taught over 2,000 Computer Science students, I can safely state that his academic performance is easily at a postgraduate level.

 

David’s conscientiousness and ambition coupled with his already considerable programming abilities have allowed him to accrue an impressive list of achievements:

 

  • David worked closely with the University’s Physics department to optimise existing telemetry processing algorithms, boosting execution speed by 11%.
  • He created a custom Linux ISO to replace Windows in our peer-tutoring computer lab, decreasing downtime due to failed updates and malware infections by 43%.
  • David also streamlined our backup procedures, freeing up 100h+ of server time a year.

 

David’s passion for all things IT is evident in his extraordinary levels of engagement in various extracurricular projects. I have no doubt he would be a valuable addition to ABC Company. I hope you take advantage of this opportunity to hire such a driven and talented IT specialist.

 

I would love to discuss David’s suitability in more detail. Can we schedule a call?

 

Yours Sincerely,



Skye Mills

 

Now that you’ve got a clearer idea of what you’re shooting for, here’s how to write a letter of recommendation, step-by-step:

 

1. Start your recommendation letter with a correctly set-out header and appropriate salutation

 

The whole point of writing a letter of recommendation is to make a good impression. In any kind of business or academic environment, professionalism is the key to doing that. A good recommendation letter keeps to the standard business letter format. A big part of that is a header and proper salutation.

 

If you know how to address a cover letter, you’ll find that the process is exactly the same here. For the header, align to the right your name, postal address, email, and phone number. Leave a line, add the date of writing, and leave another line. Then align to the left the hiring manager’s name, their job title, the organisation’s name, and the company’s postal address.

 

It can be tempting to go with ‘To Whom It May Concern’ or ‘Dear Sir / Madame’ for your salutation. The problem is that these are both well and truly outdated and far too impersonal. Use something much more targeted to really get the reader’s attention and make it clear this is a bespoke recommendation letter.

 

Start with ‘Dear + Mr/Ms + Surname’ or ‘Dear + First Name’. If you’re on equal footing with or higher up in the corporate or academic hierarchy than your reader, go with the more collegial ‘Dear Jamie’. Otherwise, or if you’re unsure, go with the safer ‘Dear Ms Warren’. 

 

Don’t have a name to work with? Ask the applicant. They can check the job advert, the company’s website, Microsoft’s LinkedIn, or generally search around online. If none of this works, they can call up the organisation and ask. At the very worst, ask them for the person’s job title and use ‘Dear + Job Title’, e.g. ‘Dear Hiring Manager’. 

 

Recommendation letter sample: header and salutation

 

Skye Mills

Senior Lecturer in Computer Science

University of Manchester

68 Front St

Manchester

M19 0BG

070 5108 2138

skye.mills@lcmail.co.uk

 

5th March 2022

 

Jamie Warren

Human Resources Manager

ABC Company

60 Berkeley Rd

Manchester

M14 0RB

 

Dear Jamie,

 

A strong CV summary will convince the recruiter you’re the perfect candidate. Save time and choose a ready-made personal statement written by career experts and adjust it to your needs in the LiveCareer CV builder.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

2. Open with the applicant’s full name and the position for which they’re applying

 

Help your reader quickly get a handle on what it is that they’re reading when they first open your letter of recommendation. Let them know why you’re writing, who you’re recommending, and to what position. Be sure to mention the applicant’s full name and the full name of the organisation to which they’re applying.

 

Recommendation letter example: opening paragraph

 

It is my pleasure to enthusiastically recommend David Abbott for the position of junior IT specialist with ABC Company.

 

3. Indicate how you know the applicant in your letter of recommendation

 

Whether you’re writing a recommendation letter for a student, employee, or friend, you need to establish what qualifies you to speak to their suitability for the role in question. Describe how you know the applicant. State how long you’ve known them. Add a fact that shows how highly you think of them.

 

Letter of recommendation sample: second paragraph

 

I have been lucky enough to teach David in various courses over the past two years, and we are currently working on his honours thesis proposal. Having taught over 2,000 Computer Science students, I can safely state that his academic performance is easily at a postgraduate level.

 

You don’t have to be a CV writing expert. In the LiveCareer CV builder you’ll find ready-made content for every industry and position, which you can then add with a single click.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

4. Show how the applicant meets the requirements of the job

 

Kind words alone don’t make for a professional recommendation letter. Your reader is looking for concrete evidence that the applicant is who they’re looking for. Give it to them in the form of two or three achievements that match key requirements. Don’t have these? Ask the applicant to provide them.

 

An achievement is just a description of how the applicant has helped you. The more numbers you can put to what they did and the benefits that fell to you, the better. Consider using something like the Action + Problem/Project = Result (APR) method to get these achievements structured right.

 

Keep this section as clear and easy to read as possible. Don’t hesitate to break it down into as many as three very short paragraphs. Use bullet points if you need to. Or even a table, if appropriate. The idea is that these achievements should be easy to find and return to quickly. Spotlight them.

 

Slip in a couple of the applicant’s skills, ones that are relevant to the requirements. Mention the applicant’s passion for the work and enthusiasm for the organisation. Try to add a fact that speaks to these. Talk to the applicant, they should be able to tell you why they chose this organisation.

 

Recommendation letter sample: main body paragraph

 

David’s conscientiousness and ambition coupled with his already considerable programming abilities have allowed him to accrue an impressive list of achievements:

 

  • David worked closely with the University’s Physics department to optimise existing telemetry processing algorithms, boosting execution speed by 11%.
  • He created a custom Linux ISO to replace Windows in our peer-tutoring computer lab, decreasing downtime due to failed updates and malware infections by 43%.
  • David also streamlined our backup procedures, freeing up 100h+ of server time a year.

 

David’s passion for all things IT is evident in his extraordinary levels of engagement in various extracurricular projects. I have no doubt he would be a valuable addition to ABC Company. I hope you take advantage of this opportunity to hire such a driven and talented IT specialist.

 

5. Close your recommendation letter with an eager CTA and sign off properly

 

End your recommendation letter with a confidence-inspiring call to action (CTA). Invite the reader to reach out for further details. This boosts credibility. Finally, sign off by using ‘Yours Sincerely’ if you addressed your reference letter to a named person and ‘Yours Faithfully’ if you used a job title.

 

Letter of recommendation sample: CTA and sign-off

 

I would love to discuss David’s suitability in more detail. Can we schedule a call?

 

Yours Sincerely,



Skye Mills

 

6. Keep these things in mind before sending off your recommendation letter

 

How effective a letter of recommendation is depends largely on how much weight your opinion carries. Your recommendation letter won’t be very convincing if it’s full of spelling and grammar mistakes, so proofread it thoroughly. An overly long letter won’t even get read, so keep it to a single A4 page.

 

Set even margins and leave plenty of white space

 

Set all four margins of your recommendation letter to one inch. Make sure there’s plenty of white space by increasing the line spacing to 1.15. Leave it at 1.00 if you’re low on space. Either way, be sure to double the spacing between paragraphs. Nothing about a cramped, overflowing letter says ‘read me’.

 

Go with an easy-to-read font

 

Use a professional-looking CV font. Something like Arial or Calibri is perfectly fine. Leave the font size at 11–12 points. Resist the urge to make the font smaller if you’re running out of space. Instead, cut content from your recommendation letter until it fits on that one A4 page.

 

Save the finished recommendation letter in PDF

 

Save or export your letter of recommendation in PDF. This will help to preserve the layout and formatting. PDF is also much more likely to display properly on a wide range of devices, as opposed to *.docx files.

 

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Just follow our wizard and fill in every CV section with ready-made content. Get started by choosing a professional CV template.

 

cv builder

 

The LiveCareer online CV maker lets you build a professional CV fast and download it as a PDF or DOC.

 

Create your CV now

 

Still unsure of how to write a recommendation letter that gets results? Writing a letter of recommendation can be a little intimidating, but just chip away at it and you’ll get there. Leave any questions, comments, feedback or advice of your own down below. We’ll be happy to reply.

Rate this article: recommendation letter
Average: 5 (1 rating)
Thanks for rating!
LiveCareer Editorial Team

LiveCareer Editorial Team

About the author

Since 2005, the LiveCareer Team has been helping job seekers advance their careers. In our in-depth guides, we share insider tips and the most effective CV and cover letter writing techniques so that you can beat recruiters in the hiring game and land your next job fast. Also, make sure to check out our state-of-the-art CV and cover letter builder—professional, intuitive, and fully in line with modern HR standards. Trusted by 10 million users worldwide.

Want to create a professional CV?

Try our CV builder for free