4 Tips for Writing a Letter of RecommendationBy 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.
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