You may not have expected it, but your teacher just assigned you a strange task. You have to write a recommendation letter for one of your classmates. The sad truth is that very few students know how to write recommendation letter. And even those who know are not sure where to begin. But writing a letter of recommendation is in no way different than writing an essay. Yes, the structure is different. The rest remains the same. You should do your research and find out all the qualities of the subject. After all, you have to know why you are recommending him or her, right? Once you have all the details on your subject, all you need to do is compose the recommendation letter. It may be more difficult than it sounds; this is why we have put together a step by step guide for you. But first, let’s understand what a recommendation letter is and understand its purpose.
How to Write Recommendation Letter: Understanding Its Purpose
Most of the time, recommendation letters are used by employers to get a better understanding of what a potential employee can do for them. In other words, the letter presents the qualities of the subject from the perspective of former employer. Remember that you can receive a letter of recommendation in school as well – from your professors. You can use this letter to apply for scholarships, students exchange programs, and even top universities. However, at present time, you need to learn how to write recommendation letter. This means you have to write one for one of your classmates. Now that you understand what a recommendation letter is, let’s get on to writing one.
Writing a College Recommendation Letter Step By Step
So, how to write recommendation letter? The process is pretty simple actually. First, you need to gather all the important information about the subject. This means talking to your classmate and writing down all of his qualities and achievements. You can then proceed with writing the actual letter of recommendation. Here is how:
- Start the letter just like your would start any formal letter. This means placing your address and date on the top right, the recipient’s name (if known) on the top left, and then open the letter with a formal greeting such as “Dear Sir,”
- Write a short introductory sentence, and make it strong. Make sure your opening phrase makes it clear that you believe in the capabilities of the person you are recommending.
- Describe how you came to know the person in the next paragraph. In your case, describe how you met the subject in school and how you were impressed by his or her traits and personal achievements.
- Enumerate all of the subject’s successes and qualifications. Be very clear about it and avoid generalities. This is why researching the subject prior to writing the college recommendation letter is very important.
- Close the letter on an affirmative tone and include a strong call to action. For example, you can say that “I am happy to give Mr. Smith the highest recommendation for the position, as I am certain that he will perform excellently.”
- Close the letter using a business closing (for example, “Best regards,”) and don’t forget to sign your name.
And this is the process of writing letters of recommendations. It wasn’t as difficult as you had expected, was it? However, there are still a couple things you need to learn about recommendation letters.
Tips and Tricks for Writing Letters of Recommendations
You may know how to write a letter of recommendation, but you are most surely interested in how to write powerful letters of recommendation. To succeed, you need to know a few tips and tricks:
- Use comparisons to illustrate the success and the traits of your subject. For example, compare your classmate’s achievements to those of other students (but don’t be rude!).
- Never, under any circumstances, exaggerate! If the subject needs to improve some aspects, you need to clearly state this. A letter of recommendation should not contain lies.
- Write in an action-oriented manner. For example, use phrases like “Mr. Smith’s skills have rapidly grown over the last 3 years while he was my classmate.”
- To write better recommendation letters, create an outline at first. You just need 4 paragraphs: Introduction, success information, your personal testimony, and the closing paragraph.
- Always proofread your work. It may not be an essay, but your letter of recommendation will still get a bad grade if you don’t proofread it.
College students can find a lot more tips online, of course. However, if you do not have time to write the letter yourself, or if you don’t know how to do it and the deadline is just around the corner, consider getting some professional help even if it means paying for it. You don’t need a bad grade!