What to Include in a Letter of Recommendation

If you have been asked to write a letter of recommendation for employment or for academic reasons, you may be struggling to know what information to include — and what to leave out. This recommendation letter template shows the format of a typical letter of recommendation, with details on what to include in each paragraph of your letter.

What to Include in a Letter of Recommendation A recommendation letter should include information on who you are, your connection with the person you are recommending, why they are qualified, and the specific skills they have.

Whenever possible, it’s helpful to provide specific anecdotes and examples that illustrate your support. For example, rather than simply stating that a candidate is a strong writer, mention that they wrote a prize-winning essay. If someone has achieved awards or special recognition for their accomplishments, mention it.

Your goal is to write a strong recommendation that will help the person you’re recommending get hired or accepted. When writing a specific letter referring a candidate for a particular job opening, the recommendation letter should include information on how the candidate’s skills match the position they are applying for.

Be prepared to answer questions about your endorsement of the candidate. The following template can be used for an employment reference, as well as a reference for graduate school.

Letter of Recommendation Format Below is a template with an example of the format for a letter of recommendation. A template can help you with the layout of your letter. It shows you what information to include and how to organize your letter.

While letter templates are great starting points for your own message, you should always edit a letter to fit your situation. You can also review samples of recommendation letters to help you write your own.

Recommendation letter template


BY ALISON DOYLE  Updated February 19, 2019