An Effective Recommendation Letter

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Recommendation letters are necessary for people who are searching for jobs, applying to college, receiving a scholarship or fellowship, etc. They can be written by employers, teachers, professors or even friends. Thus, depending on who writes the letters and their purpose, there exist three main types of recommendation letters: employment recommendation, academic recommendation, and character reference.

Employment recommendation provides a systematized analysis of person’s abilities and attributes, and appraisal from the former employer. This type of recommendation letter should focus on the professional qualifications and behavior of the candidate. Academic recommendation demonstrates maturity and seriousness of a purpose, points out leadership ability and diligence, comments on the character of the person and includes other relevant information. A character reference letter contains a variety of non-academic and non-employment related facts such as winning awards or gaining memberships.

Every effective recommendation letter must include three main sections: opening, body, and closing. It usually contains between five and nine paragraphs with total word count from 200 to 600 words.

The letter is opened with a formal business greeting and state of recommendation, which includes the purpose of the letter, the overall recommender’s opinion of individual and the period of their relationships. This is followed by a description of individual’s potential, skills, abilities, activities, qualifications, strengths, and contributions. The reasons why the person is looking for a new assignment must also be stated. Lastly, there should be a summary of reasons for recommending this person. This summary shows confidence in the individual and normally includes the necessary final points. Business letter closing and signature are put at the end.

This type of letter must be written in a formal manner, including only personal information relevant to the application. Above all, its task is to introduce the person and give undertaking summary of his/her abilities, character, and integrity. To conclude, the content of a recommendation letter depends upon the needs of the requesting person.

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