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How to Write a Letter Of Recommendation That Gets Results

Updated on December 15, 2016
FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway in an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with applied experience in corporate human resources and consulting.

Make sure your letter of recommendation conveys the desired impact with these tips.
Make sure your letter of recommendation conveys the desired impact with these tips. | Source

You Agreed to Write a Recommendation Letter, But Now What?

In the world of scholarships and college admissions, application materials often suffer from the Lake Wobegon effect. (Lake Wobegon is a fictional place where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.")

To help differentiate the best from the rest, admissions and awards committees rely on objective evaluations of the applicant's abilities and character. Such assessments are provided by teachers, professors, and others who are familiar with the candidate. This can include supervisors, coaches, community leaders and volunteer coordinators who have interacted extensively with him or her. This is where you come in!

Need Help Writing a Letter of Recommendation?

The selection committee needs your help in evaluating the candidate.  Be accurate and truthful then let the chips fall where they may.
The selection committee needs your help in evaluating the candidate. Be accurate and truthful then let the chips fall where they may. | Source

No Pressure: But Letters of Recommendation Are Very Important

Recommenders face a daunting task because nearly all recommendations are positive. Thus, if the candidate you're endorsing is an absolute stand-out, your letter must reflect that. It's essential that you make a solid case for his or her acceptance.

My personal experience is that particularly with top-tier competitive situations, there are complex scoring schemes in play. Whether an applicant is accepted, waitlisted, or rejected outright may come down to a third decimal place (e.g., .001). Thus, one letter of recommendation—your letter—could be a tie-breaker in the high-stakes admissions game where people's futures are on the line.

How's that for pressure? Now I'm going to help you do a good job.

Competition Can Be Fierce so Lean Into It

Understand the applicant's goals and what he or she is applying for.  In a highly competitive environment, one letter of recommendation can swing a decision.  Hey, no pressure.
Understand the applicant's goals and what he or she is applying for. In a highly competitive environment, one letter of recommendation can swing a decision. Hey, no pressure. | Source

Your Recommendation Makes a Difference

Particularly in top-tier competitive situations, one letter of recommendation—your letter—could be a tie-breaker in the high-stakes admissions game where people's futures are on the line.

Your Role: A Fair and Accurate Assessment

In providing a recommendation, you place your own reputation on the line.

Resist the urge to overstate the candidate's strengths. While it may help them gain entry into a program, it will set them up for eventual failure with unrealistic expectations that they cannot fulfill.

Hyperbole also ruins your credibility. You may need to recommend future candidates for the same program or scholarship.

Your role as a recommender is simply this: Provide the selection committee with the objective information that it needs to make a fully informed decision.

Provide a fair and accurate assessment of the candidate you are evaluating.  Don't be tempted to indulge in hyperbole.  If the candidate truly is outstanding, however, give examples, be specific and don't hold back your praise.
Provide a fair and accurate assessment of the candidate you are evaluating. Don't be tempted to indulge in hyperbole. If the candidate truly is outstanding, however, give examples, be specific and don't hold back your praise. | Source

Communicate clearly and persuasively, providing a fair and accurate assessment of the applicant's

  • abilities
  • character
  • motivation and
  • potential for success.

If you believe the candidate to be a true stand-out, then you'll need to be somewhat creative, too, so that your candidate gets the attention he or she deserves. (Someone may have done this for you along the way.) Only you know what is appropriate here, so use your professional judgment.

Your Reputation Is at Stake: Know When to Say "No"

Your reputation is on the line.  Know when to decline a request for a recommendation.
Your reputation is on the line. Know when to decline a request for a recommendation. | Source

Consider the following before you agree to write a letter of recommendation:

  • Do you know the person well enough?
  • Do you feel comfortable professionally endorsing their application with a supportive letter?
  • Do you have sufficient time to dedicate to this process?

Decline their request if you cannot in good conscience write a supportive letter. For example: "I think you'd be best served if someone else recommended you." If you don't know them well enough or don't have the time to dedicate, decline with an explanation.

Let's Get Started!

Know the candidate, the program the student is applying for, and the criteria for selection.
Know the candidate, the program the student is applying for, and the criteria for selection. | Source

What Information Do You Need?

If you fill out the recommendation form that the applicant provides you -- without asking any questions -- then you're taking the easy way out. It's also less effective. You'll be tempted to do this and just be done with it, but stop. Expect more out of yourself and the candidate whose future you are investing in.

Know the Candidate, the Selection Criteria and the Application Context

Students seek written endorsements for a variety of purposes:

  • to study abroad
  • to earn scholarships or fellowships
  • to secure internships and employment and
  • to gain admittance to college, graduate, law, or medical school.

You'll need to meet with the applicant to gather information about the program or award he or she is applying for and learn more about his/her goals. By understanding the context of the candidate's request, you can better address the needs of both the selection committee and the applicant.

Materials to Ask For

Ask the candidate to supply the following relevant documents so that you can thoroughly understand the criteria for selection and build a case for how he or she fits those criteria:

  • the program or scholarship brochure
  • the job description or job announcement (e.g., for an internship)
  • a bullet pointed list ("talking points") of his or her most important assets and why he or she believes s/he is qualified. Tell the applicant that it's not the time to be modest.
  • the applicant's resume and/or transcript and
  • any additional materials you believe may be helpful (e.g., the applicant's statement of interest, application essay).

After reviewing and discussing this information with the candidate, you should have a clear sense of the following:

  • what he or she wants to achieve with his/her application
  • Two or three key strengths that you have actually observed in the candidate
  • the decision criteria (so you know what to emphasize most in your letter).

Support Your Claims With Strong Examples

Review the candidate's records so that you don't make claims that are inconsistent with his or her application.  Support your claims with detailed examples of how the candidate has displayed his or her strengths.
Review the candidate's records so that you don't make claims that are inconsistent with his or her application. Support your claims with detailed examples of how the candidate has displayed his or her strengths. | Source

What to Include in a Letter Of Recommendation

Who You Are
Who Candidate Is
Support
A brief description of why you are qualified to evaluate the applicant ("As an AP Chemistry teacher for 12 years, I have taught the course to over 600 students ... ")
The candidate's name and why you're writing the letter of support (e.g., the scholarship, award, or program s/he is applying to)
Express confidence in the candidate's future success, and confidently state why you believe this to be true.
An overview of the context and length of your relationship with the applicant
Choose high impact adjectives that fairly and accurately describe the applicant.
Describe your level of support. If you "highly recommend," use that terminology.
Your contact information and an invitation to reach out to you with any questions
Behavioral examples that describe how the candidate has demonstrated his/her most notable strengths
If there are weaknesses, address them responsibly. Including a mild weakness that is the flip side of a strength makes the entire letter seem more plausible.
Your name and position (signature line)
Where possible, quantify the candidate's achievements and your assessment of his or her capabilities (e.g., in the top x% of students you've taught in the past x years)
Don't hold back on emotion or enthusiasm about an applicant. If your candidate merits the level of support, go all in.

Go Ahead: Get Their Attention by Telling a Story

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Stories are personal and persuasive.  They illustrate important points.Describe a time when the candidate exhibited a specific strength.  What was the situation? What did he do?  What results did he achieve?Stories should be thorough and specific.  Include others' reactions and the applicant's learnings, if relevant to the example.
Stories are personal and persuasive.  They illustrate important points.
Stories are personal and persuasive. They illustrate important points. | Source
Describe a time when the candidate exhibited a specific strength.  What was the situation? What did he do?  What results did he achieve?
Describe a time when the candidate exhibited a specific strength. What was the situation? What did he do? What results did he achieve? | Source
Stories should be thorough and specific.  Include others' reactions and the applicant's learnings, if relevant to the example.
Stories should be thorough and specific. Include others' reactions and the applicant's learnings, if relevant to the example. | Source

Set your letter apart from the crowd using some of the following tips and tricks.

Tell a story. For each of two or three key strengths, be thorough and specific in explaining how you have seen the applicant display them. Better yet, tell an engaging story.

Stories are personal, persuasive and can incorporate multiple strengths. People find them easy to remember and connect with.

Describe vivid situations which illustrate how the candidate has embodied an important trait. And don't make the story too long.

Here are some considerations to get you thinking:

  • What was the situation or task?
  • Were there any barriers to success that stumped others but which the candidate overcame?
  • What did you observe the candidate do in this situation that made him or her remarkable?
  • What were the results achieved, both in the task and how others responded to him/her?
  • Is there a moral to this story or a key take away?

Don't go "standard." Another way of making your letter of recommendation truly memorable is to adopt a nonstandard introduction.

Rather than beginning with the standard introduction of who you are and who the student is, consider launching your letter with three bold descriptors of the candidate. For example, "Visionary. Intuitive. Unflappable. No three words better describe John Doe than these. ..." Or, if you're confident enough in a candidate to make a prediction about his or her future, proclaim it in the first sentence. Then back it up with supporting data.

Don't hold back your enthusiasm or emotion in recommending a terrific candidate.
Don't hold back your enthusiasm or emotion in recommending a terrific candidate. | Source

Don't hold back on your enthusiasm or emotion. Match the level of support you feel for an applicant to the tone of your letter. Words have varying degrees of emotional "temperature" that can express

  • cautious support
  • support, or
  • yelling at the top of your lungs jumping-up-and-down support.

Carefully choose your words to reflect your perspective. If the applicant merits yoo-hooing, don't hold back your enthusiasm or emotion. Use words like "phenomenal" or "unstoppable" if they're accurate. Express confidence in his or her future. Truly lean into your recommendation when it's warranted.

Writing a letter of recommendation requires you to be mindful of spelling, word choice, format, deadlines and other key considerations.
Writing a letter of recommendation requires you to be mindful of spelling, word choice, format, deadlines and other key considerations. | Source

Don't Forget the Details

Get the mechanics right: Don't get tripped up by the minor points. Ignoring the following could detract significantly from the overall impact of the letter:

  • Indicate "CONFIDENTIAL" on the top of the letter if the student has opted to waive access
  • Vary the structure and length of sentences
  • Check spelling and word choice
  • Avoid heavy use of cliches
  • Stick to format or word count requirements, if any
  • Use letterhead, and sign in blue or black ink using your title and degree(s)
  • Customize each letter for a particular applicant, scholarship, college, etc.—particularly if you write multiple letters for one candidate
  • Honor deadlines.

If They're THAT Good, Then Go Full Tilt

If the candidate you're evaluating is truly remarkable, now is not the time to hold back on enthusiasm or emotion.  Lean into your recommendation.  Use words like "phenomenal" if they are accurate representations of the candidate's ability.
If the candidate you're evaluating is truly remarkable, now is not the time to hold back on enthusiasm or emotion. Lean into your recommendation. Use words like "phenomenal" if they are accurate representations of the candidate's ability. | Source

Know the Red Flags for Letters Of Recommendation

Letter of Recommendation Red Flag
What It Potentially Says
Recommendation "form letter" that lacks details and examples
The candidate did not merit the recommender's time and effort for a detailed recommendation letter. The recommender doesn't know the candidate well. The candidate isn't a good judge of how others perceive him (else he or she would have selected another recommender).
Brief letter, often with short, choppy sentences. Appears uninspired and not well written.
The recommender is holding back negative information. Or, the candidate made a terrible judgement in asking someone with such poor writing skills to endorse him or her.
Backhanded compliments or descriptions and poor comparisons (e.g., "she ranks in the top half of students I teach.")
The recommender should have declined the student's request but may have felt compelled to write the recommendation.
The over-the-top candidate who's too good to be true—especially if his or her credentials don't back up the claims.
Who wrote this letter? The credibility of the recommender needs to be considered in discounting their glowing endorsement of the candidate.
The recommender and candidate share the same last name.
It's a huge no-no when parents or other family members write recommendation letters for an applicant. It calls into question the social skills of BOTH parties. Just don't do it. If the last name is a coincidence indicate "no relation."
The recommender is low in professional status (e.g., grad student rather than department head).
The candidate may not have impressed people who are more established in their field. Consider a co-signed letter with a faculty member.
The student does NOT waive his right to access the letter under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).*
A letter that is non-confidential may NOT express the recommender's true and honest opinion.
The recommendation is from a public official who does not know the candidate (e.g., their Senator).
The student is not a strong candidate and must attempt a "Hail Mary pass" by dropping names.
*FERPA is a US Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records for all schools that receive US Dept of Education funding. Students must be age 18 or beyond high school. A student's records are available for review unless rights a

Consider What Makes the Applicant Special

The candidate will be competing against others who are top notch students.  Consider what makes your applicant truly extraordinary as a thinker, leader, scientist, athlete, writer, musician, humanitarian or fellow human being.  How is she unique?
The candidate will be competing against others who are top notch students. Consider what makes your applicant truly extraordinary as a thinker, leader, scientist, athlete, writer, musician, humanitarian or fellow human being. How is she unique? | Source

Need Help Describing the Candidate? Here Are 86 Positive Traits

accountable, adaptable, ambitious, analytical, articulate, attentive, balanced, broad-minded, collaborative, clear-thinking, commanding, conscientious, considerate, creative, curious, dauntless, decisive, dedicated, dependable, determined, devoted, diligent, diplomatic, driven, dynamic, earnest, empathic, enterprising, entrepreneurial, enthusiastic, earnest, energetic, even-tempered, flexible, focused, gracious, gutsy, hard-working, imaginative, indefatigable, influential, insightful, inspiring, intuitive, leader, open-minded, organized, passionate, patient, persistent, pioneering, peacemaker, perceptive, persuasive, philanthropic, poised, precise, proactive, prudent, punctual, questioning, quick-witted, rational, receptive, reliable, resilient, resourceful, responsive, self-assured, self-disciplined, self-directed, self-reliant, self-sufficient, sensible, shrewd, straightforward, steadfast, tenacious, thorough, trustworthy, unflappable, unstoppable, versatile, visionary, works well under pressure

Recommendation Letters: Examples of Requirements

Letters of recommendation provide insight into an applicant's character and personality.
Letters of recommendation provide insight into an applicant's character and personality. | Source

Have you ever wondered about letters of recommendation requirements for various organizations? Here are some intriguing examples:

Yale University's undergraduate program requires two recommendations from high school teachers, preferably those who have taught the applicant in academic studies during his or her junior or senior year. One additional recommendation is permitted but not encouraged.

Peace Corps Volunteers must submit two letters of recommendations as a part of their selection process. The letters can be from:

  • A current or previous employment supervisor
  • A current or previous volunteer work supervisor
  • A close friend of two or more years (not a family member or romantic interest).

Acceptance into West Point typically requires nomination from

  • The Vice President
  • an applicant's United States Senator or Representative or
  • The Secretary of the Army.

Stanford Medical School requires a minimum of three but no more than six letters of recommendation.

To apply for an American Rhodes Scholarship, five to eight letters of recommendation are required. Four letters must be from people who can assess the candidate's academic ability, and at least one letter must speak to their character.

Summary Points

  • As a recommender, your role is to provide the selection committee with a fair and accurate assessment of the applicant's abilities and character. By doing so, you can help the committee make a fully informed decision.
  • Meet with the applicant to thoroughly understand the selection criteria.
  • Build a case for how the applicant fits those criteria.
  • Don't just list adjectives and key strengths. Go beyond content you find in the applicant's resume. Explain how you have personally seen the applicant demonstrate his or her strengths.
  • Use thorough and specific examples, storytelling, non-standard letter introductions, and enthusiasm as techniques to help you convey the candidate's uniqueness.

Don't Agree to Write the Letter If You Can't Endorse the Candidate

Even poor students and those who don't stand out may need letters of recommendation.  Know how to respond when you're not comfortable saying "yes" to requests.
Even poor students and those who don't stand out may need letters of recommendation. Know how to respond when you're not comfortable saying "yes" to requests. | Source

© 2014 FlourishAnyway

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 24 months ago from USA

      Kamalesh050 - Thank you for the endorsement! I appreciate your kind praise.

    • Kamalesh050 profile image

      Kamalesh050 24 months ago from Sahaganj, Dist. Hooghly, West Bengal, India

      Brilliant piece of work. Lovely, Lovely presentation. Voted Up/ Awesome, Beautiful, Useful and Interesting. Look forward to reading your other hubs, to the extent possible! Take care.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Joyette - Thank you for the kind kudos! Much appreciated!

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 2 years ago from Dominica

      This is most impressive! As a former high school teacher I write recommendations frequently and although I do quite a good job, I was still able to find some useful tips in this hub. Great job!

      Voted up and useful!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Graham - Thank you so much for your kind kudos. Have a terrific day!

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Flourish. This hub is one of the very best I have read. So informative and concise. Your detail and research shines through like a beacon. Compliments are easy to bestow I know but I am indeed impressed by your work. Well done.

      voted up and all.

      Graham.

      Graham

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      ezzly - Many thanks for sharing and your kind kudos! Have a great Sunday!

    • ezzly profile image

      ezzly 2 years ago

      What a fantastic and concise hub that breaks down this serious task ! Voted up, useful and tweeting !

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      tazzytamar - Thanks for reading and pinning. I hope this helps should you ever need it.

    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 2 years ago from chichester

      I am pinning this - fantastic advice for anyone who wants or needs to write a decent letter of recommendation. I will reflect on these points in the future if asked again to write one :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - Thank you for your support. Have a great weekend.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

      I think it's time to get this one going again, with college application season upon us. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Thank you, dear Shyron. I appreciate you commenting and sharing!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Good guide for anyone who is writing a letter of recommendation for someone, or for themselves. I could have used this information when writing such letters.

      Thumb-up, UAI and shared.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Anna - Thanks for describing your experience. It's good that applicants know the other side of the coin. Sometimes recommenders are tired, inundated with requests, don't have time, disinterested, or don't think all that highly of the candidate. Conversation is critical in positioning the request. Have a great weekend!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Genna - Thank you so much for a detailed comment. They can be challenging to write, and applicants' futures hang by a thread based on what you write. Knowing that, they merit much attention to detail, even the candidates who are not all that outstanding. Have a terrific holiday weekend.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Rec letters can be daunting; I’ve written several, and they require a lot of thought. You have outlined excellent steps to follow and consider...I especially liked this one: “Explain how you have personally seen the applicant demonstrate his or her strengths.” Competition is fierce, and these letters can go a long way toward opening doors of opportunity for others. Voted up and more. :-)

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

      I have only had to provide employment and personal references in the past, and I admit I have never put this much thought into it. I definitely will in the future though, you are totally right and if a person is that good they should be extoled as such. Good hub!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Devika - Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great week.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A great effort here and you just know how to layout interesting hubs.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Bill - Hopefully this guide will help anyone who has to write one in the future. They are not always the easiest things to do. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great weekend yourself!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great job Flourish. I have been asked to do this in the past and have struggled. What a great guide for anyone writing a letter of recommendation. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Rachael - Thank you for the vote and comment. I appreciate your sharing your experience, as it's often difficult to know what to include if you're not accustomed to writing letters of recommendation. Sometimes scout leaders, community leaders, work supervisors, and coaches, however, are asked. I hope this hub will be of value in these circumstances particularly.

    • RachaelOhalloran profile image

      Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

      I have always given a copy of my letter to the person who asked for it so that they know what I said. But I have to admit that none of my recommendation letters were very detailed nor were they extolling their virtues. I did not go out of my way to research the person's background. I simply wrote from my heart what I knew about them and how I knew them, i.e. if I knew them from work, socially, or from church.

      Recommendation letters have come a long way and this article is the perfect "how to" for anyone scratching their heads wondering what they should write. Voted up.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Ann - Thank you!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      That's a brilliant result - well done her! Ann

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Liz - It's such a competitive world out there. You never know when the need might arise. Thanks for reading.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Ann - Thank you for the kind kudos. You are right about the intensity of competition. My daughter is just entering high school and in order to apply for magnet specialty centers (that could assist her in turn in securing entry into good colleges) she had to go through interviews, timed test-taking, writing essays, asking for teacher recommendations, etc. It was a process that closely mirrored college applications, and the kids are only in eighth grade (13 and 14 year olds). In the end she got into 7 and got waitlisted for 2. Recommendations can make an enormous difference.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      This is such a good article on letters of recommendation. It shows just how important it is to go into depth and to know the candidate really well. I love the story idea; it makes it so much more personal. Competition for anything is so strong these days, they need all the expertise they can get.

      If I ever have to write another such letter, I shall come back to this for guidance. Well done!

      Ann

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I never had to ask for or write this type of letter, but great points to refer back to should the need arise. Thank you for sharing!!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Nell - She was really lucky. Sometimes life throws you a softball! Thanks for reading and sharing your experience.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Nice one Flourish great information and really helpful advice for anybody needing to know this. I was lucky, my friend needed a job recommendation and I happened to be on the Managers desk so to speak for a week when my boss was on holiday, so when someone phoned up to ask how my friend had done in our job they never realised that I knew her outside of work, so of course I gave her a great recommendation and voila, she got the job! lol!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Sha - Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate the kind words. Have a great week.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Well done, Flourish. As always, you provide valuable information in great detail.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Jackie - Thanks for the compliment! I sure appreciate it! Have a great week.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Well this sure packs a wallop! You couldn't get more decisive. Exceptional article! ^+

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Dear FaithReaper, Thank you so much for your kind words. You are always so supportive. Have a lovely week, my friend.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Flourish,

      What a great hub here. You have provided great insight and warnings to not just write a recommendation letter for anyone and, on the flip-side, knowing the right person to ask too!

      Your hubs are always well-written and provide great insight no matter what the topic.

      Up and more and away

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Linda - I've never had to refuse a student's recommendation, but some of mine have been "merely supportive." I've never written anything that I wouldn't let the student read because who knows if one day they might actually do that? Glad you enjoyed the hub, and thank you for sharing your own experiences.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      MsDora - How kind of you to say! Thank you for reading. I hope it helps those who need it!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Heidi - Thanks for the kind compliment. I have previously looked for this kind of list myself when I had to write recommendations so I thought I'd compile one here and include it. Have a great week!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very useful hub, Flourish. Unless a student is truly outstanding, I always approach the task of writing a reference letter with trepidation. I want to help the student attain their goal, but at the same time, I am very aware that my reputation is on the line, as you say. My letter needs to be honest as well as helpful. Luckily, I've never been in a position where I've felt that I have to refuse a student's request for a letter of recommendation.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      No one should write another letter of recommendation without reading this article. You explain issues, like those red flags, of which the letter write may not be aware. You also show the importance of asking the right person for a recommendation.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Good tips, as usual. Though the emphasis is on employee or student recommendations, business owners are often faced with the daunting task of asking for or being asked for recommendations. Vendor recommendations can be just as stressful, especially if the experience wasn't that positive.

      Love, LOVE the 86 traits list! Voted up and sharing!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Bill - Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate the endorsement.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - Even middle schools are now using letters of recommendations to get into magnet high schools. It's such a competitive world we operate in these days, and it's important to have a well written one. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent information. This is a step-by-step guide to success for those interested. Well done my friend.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

      You are absolutely correct, because with all the competition today, a good letter of recommendation can make all the difference. With grade inflation in high school, so many people have near-perfect GPA scores. So those letters of recommendation are more valuable than ever.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Frank - I appreciate the vote of confidence. Thank you!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      Flourish this was so detailed and packed with usefulness.. a guide that's concise voted up and awesome :)

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