If a friend asks you to pen a letter of recommendation, they’re asking for your help. While it’s somewhat flattering to be asked, it can also be a lot of pressure on you. After all, you can write a letter that can keep your buddy from being hired if you don’t do the job right.
But you can write a letter of recommendation properly. That’s especially true if you actually have positive thoughts about your friend.
How to Write A Letter of Recommendation
Start With the Background
Exactly why are you writing this letter? While writing a letter of recommendation is common for job applications, you may also have to write such a letter to get some accepted by a college or to have someone nominated for an award.
So first, start by getting a more complete picture. What is your friend aiming to get? Then what qualities and qualifications does your friend have to make them deserving of the job or award?
Finally, you should also find out who you’re addressing when you write the letter. Who that person is can help you tailor the form and tone of the setter to suit the addressee.
Describe Your Professional Relationship with the Applicant
You can simply start by mentioning when you worked with the applicant. You can then describe what job your friend had and their responsibilities, and then also mention your professional work position in relation to your friend. You can say that you were teammates, that you were the immediate supervisor, or maybe even that your friend was your superior.
You can then describe what your friend did, especially with the tasks that you saw your friend accomplish. You should emphasize what you personally noticed and saw.
Assess the Quality of the Applicant’s Work
You need to focus more on the aspects of your friend’s job that jives with the position they’re applying for. If it’s for a creative job, you can then describe the creative aspects of their work. If it’s a leadership position, then you can focus on how she led the team or the department in various situations and circumstances.
Specifically mention concrete results and not just your opinions on how well your friend did. Mention stats and numbers as often as you can, as these are hard facts. Point out the various ways the department or the company profited from the efforts of your friend.
For example, don’t just say that your buddy was terrific in leading the sales team. Instead, you can point out how much the sales increased during your friend’s time as a sales team leader. You can focus on how many products were sold and how much the company earned as a result.
Rank Your Friend
Abilities are better explained when they’re compared with how others can perform. It’s like being able to run 100 meters in 10 seconds. You know that’s a very fast time since only a handful of sprinters in history can do such a feat.
The same goes for your friend. Point out any qualities they may have that rank them among the very top. You can say that they’re the most honest person you’ve worked with, or maybe that they’re one of the hardest-working employees you’ve partnered with.
When you say such a thing like they’re honest or hardworking, make sure you describe a story to illustrate your point. If you laud your friend for their imaginative solutions for difficult problems, describe a situation in which your friend actually had a creative answer to a problem you had. This has a greater impact, and it shows what you’re talking about.
Your letter should be enthusiastic about the person you’re recommending as if you really think the company will be doing itself a favor by hiring your buddy. Don’t be “neutral” and think you’re being “objective”. Recruiters will assume you’re a friend, and if a friend isn’t enthusiastic about the applicant then why should they even be excited about this person?
Use any signs of your own importance, such as the letterhead of your company. Put in your name and signature, along with your contact info. Make sure you mention that you’re always willing to discuss the applicant and that you can answer any of their questions.
Send a copy of the letter to your friend, so there are no surprises. Besides, they’d owe you a favor and you may need a favor yourself later on in your own career!