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4 Tips for Writing a Letter of Recommendation

4 Tips for Writing a Letter of Recommendation

By Steven Silvers | January 27, 2012

If you are asked to write a letter of recommendation you should first ask yourself if you are in a position to be recommending the person. If you are, then these four tips could be a helpful guide.

Write your recommendation letter for repeated use (unless you are asked to customize it for a particular job the applicant is applying for).

1. Write specifically how the person performed and that he/she:

  • Was successful in his/her previous job
  • Would be welcomed back to their previous employer
  • Showed a high level of initiative exceeding expectations
  • Was an excellent problem solver, communicator and worked well with internal and external customers/employees across all levels and functions
  • Significantly contributed to the success of his/her department/division/company.

2. Include information on how the person would be successful in the future. Focus on accomplishments, such as: 

  • Team building/Communication 
  • Process improvements
  • Difficult to attain skills
  • Individual performance
  • Revenue production
  • Cost savings

3. Be open to phone inquiry to provide further information.

4. Follow the S.M.A.R.T. method to evaluate good objectives (this also applies to other things in life):

(S) Specific: Be specific and direct to the point in terms of what this person has done to deserve your recommendation. Provide details (briefly) be it a good task, a project activity, or other types of help.

(M) Measurable: Include quantifiable achievements. For example, he/she doubled the Gross Profit of the ‘X’ product in 6 months; he/she implemented strategies to increase customer interaction on social media sites by 240%.

(A) Attainable: You are ‘selling’ someone else’s services. Provide attainable qualities and services in that person but do not oversell him/her.

(R) Relevant: Be relevant to the person’s own experience and specialties and mention qualities that are related to each other. For example, he/she is a competent project manager and that he/she is very skilled at using MS Project. While these two are separate competencies they both fall in the Project Management profession.

(T)Time-bound: Include time boundaries. For example, how much time it took the person to finish a difficult task; in what year he built an effective system.

Steven Silvers can be reached at LinkedIn.com/in/brotherSilvers.
Credit: Article adapted from a 2009 LinkedIn article compiled by Sergey Novoselov.

Please follow for my next article in the series.

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[ NOTICE: I was recently informed that ads sometimes appear just below my blog posts and that some look to be inappropriate for this site. If you see any ads on my blog, please accept my apologies because they are not mine! WordPress.com said they put the ads there when the visitors (you) are not logged in. Well, I don’t like it so I’m going to transition this blog over to my own web site. Thank you for your understanding and patience! -Steve ]
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