Letter of Recommendation in English: Step by Step and Examples

Document is important

Document is important in the selection process in overseas universities and companies.

Those who intend to study or work abroad spend weeks gathering a series of documents. One of the items that can not be missing is the letter of recommendation in English. Here are some guidelines on how to write and ready-made examples that serve as a reference for your writing.

The content of the letter of recommendation depends on the purpose. An essay that works well in job selection does not always align with the application in a college or postgraduate course.

In the United States, there are several types of letter of recommendation. Staff are written by someone close to them, who knows the personality of the candidate and is able to talk about their character based on life outside of work. The letter of education highlights the achievements of the academic trajectory. Already the employment letter highlights the qualities of a person to perform a specific job.

The letter of recommendation can be decisive in the application process or in the dispute for a job vacancy in the United States. For this reason, it is important to master writing in English and knowing models of structure that make sense to Americans.

If you need to provide a reference for employment or education, here are some tips for writing the letter of recommendation in English:

1 – Understand first what is a recommendation

The goal is to talk about the candidate’s academic performance or professional performance in the company. This recommendation can be made not only by letter, but also by phone or email.

2 – Describe qualifications and skills

Write about the candidate’s skills and try to validate them through specific examples. It is important that these attributes have relevance to the intended job, be it employment or education.

Never write a negative recommendation letter or tell lies about the candidate. Remember that your reputation will also be at stake. Be careful not to over-praise the achievements of the student or former employee as this may sound like an exaggeration.

3 – Include keywords in the essay

Ask to see the job posting or the postgraduate program announcement. In this way, it is easier to include in the text keywords related to the requirements of the university or company.

4 – Follow a structure

To avoid facing so much difficulty during writing, it is recommended to follow a structure. Start with a “To Whom it May Concern” greeting or mention the name of the person in charge of the selection process.

The first paragraph should be an introduction, able to explain the connection that exists with the recommended individual and how long they know each other.

The second paragraph has the function of presenting details, such as the qualifications contextualized with examples. The third paragraph should contain a summary of the person recommended and reinforce how much your performance is relevant to the position.

The fourth and last paragraph is a conclusion, which should contain contact information (telephone, email, address). Finish with the signature below the full name and title.

6 – Count on ready-made models

You do not need to write a letter of recommendation in English from scratch. The tip is to have ready-made examples and customize the information based on the profile of the recommended candidate.

7 – Worry about the review

Carefully review the letter before printing or sending it by e-mail. See if the text contains no spelling or typing errors. Make sure, even the contact information is correct. Also, ask someone else to read the document, preferably someone who has an advanced level of English.

Advice for asking for a letter of recommendation

If you are on the other side of the coin, here are some tips for requesting a letter of recommendation:

Seek the Right People

To get a job opportunity, you need to contact your previous employers or clients, who can attest your qualifications and make a recommendation. In the case of the academic career, it is recommended to have the references of teachers.

The author of the letter should know his career and have the ability to lecture on his talents. Only then will he be able to give good references.

Make the request

The request can be made by personally, by telephone, letter or e-mail. See an example letter asking for reference in English and download it.

Be sincere

When asking for a letter of recommendation in English, explain to the teacher or former employer about “what is expected” with this document. If you have the opportunity to talk, talk about the selection process and structure preference for the letter. In some cases, depending on the degree of proximity, it may be interesting to highlight facts and stories that illustrate good references. Remember that skills or abilities need examples (context).


Does your reference do not speak English? No problem. Ask to write a letter of recommendation in your language so that she will feel more at ease. Then hire the services of a sworn translator.

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