Letter of Recommendation 101: Understanding The Various Types

Letter of Recommendation

It’s always been a tough task to apply for a position you desire. Especially today, the competition for finding a new job is quite high. One way to help is to have someone create a recommendation letter for you.

Having someone who can attest to your credentials and personal qualities might increase the likelihood that prospective employers will consider you for a position. This letter verifies your abilities, achievements, or employment status.

Recommendation letters are not just for a job application. This letter is also useful for promoting an employee, for a student going to college, or getting a scholarship or recommendation for a graduate school and so much more.

This article will help you write a recommendation letter and request one. We provide samples and templates for you!

What Is A Letter Of Recommendation?

A recommendation letter is a formal document that attests to and vouches for someone else’s work, talents, or academic achievements and potential. Recommendation letters may contain information about your personality, work ethic, community participation, and academic accomplishments.

A well-written letter of recommendation from a good recommender can make your application stand out because it gives a holistic view of your personality and academic and professional performance and can recommend you to other hiring managers and interviewers.

If you are the one who requests a recommendation letter, keep in mind that the person providing it should be a previous employer, professor, or an acquaintance who is highly knowledgeable about the candidate’s work and can suggest him to other hiring managers and interviewers.

Types Of Letters Of Recommendation

You can use recommendation letters in so many ways and on different occasions. There are three basic types of recommendation letters that you may use. 

  • Academic Recommendation Letters

Admissions officers often want academic recommendation letters. Typically, it is written for a student or recent graduate by a high school teacher, vocational instructor, counselor, or college professor.

These letters are often needed for college applications, scholarships, internships, training programs, and fellowships. You may also request this letter from a former teacher, administrator, dean, coach, or other education expert. Always remember that these people should be the ones who are familiar with your academic experience or extracurricular achievements.

  • Employ Recommendations

Letters of recommendation for employment are an important tool for those looking for new jobs. It is a letter written by a supervisor, colleague, customer, instructor, or professor who knows a lot about their job accomplishments.

It often contains a description of your job and duties, the length of time you have been with the firm, as well as your talents, credentials, and contributions to the organization.

  • Character/Personal References

A family friend, mentor, or neighbor can write a character or personal reference letter to attest to the candidate’s characteristics. The letter should highlight the writer’s personal relationship with the candidate and provide specific examples of the candidate’s positive qualities and attributes. 

Character recommendations or character references are often required in housing conditions, legal problems, child adoption, and other similar situations where knowing a person’s character are critical.

When To Use A Recommendation Letter

  1. Recommendation Letter for Employee

The management at the company often prepares a recommendation letter for a former employee. This letter demonstrates the kind of person you are, how effectively you connect with others, your abilities, and whether or not you are competent. It is also an endorsement, indicating a positive suggestion for your application with the company. 

  1. Recommendation Letter for Student

A student’s letter of recommendation must highlight all of their best traits, such as their character, interpersonal abilities, work ethic, and academic achievements. It focuses on the skills and qualifications most important for the job or program the student is applying to.

  1. Recommendation Letter for Promotion

A letter of recommendation can help you get a raise or promotion at your current job. You can also write a letter of recommendation for a colleague, superior or supervisor to get a promotion.

  1. Recommendation Letter for Salary Increase

A salary increase recommendation letter is a formal way of seeking a rise in your pay. This involves a direct report from your manager to the supervisor who has the authority to give you a raise.

  1. Recommendation Letter for Scholarship

Scholarship candidates may use the information provided in letters of recommendation to help them meet the basic requirements set out by many scholarship programs.

Recommendation Letter VS Reference Letter

Recommendation letters and reference letters are both can be used in job applications. However, they are different in terms of style and purpose.

  • A recommendation letter is more customized to the organization or individual requesting them and the job being pursued. The author lists the suggested individual’s strengths in order to vouch for the candidate’s credibility.
  • A reference letter is a general letter that is written ahead of time, and copies can be used at a later date. It is not written for a specific opportunity but can be used as a general sign of approval when needed.

How To Write A Letter Of Recommendation

Getting a lot of chances to get a job with a letter of recommendation is effective. Here is a guide on writing a recommendation letter:

  • Salutation

Begin your letter with a professional salutation using “Dear Mr./Ms.” then add their full name. “Dear Admissions Committee” might be used for academic applications. If you’re writing a generic letter, you might start with “To Whom It May Concern.”

  • First Paragraph

The first paragraph of the reference letter discusses your relationship with the individual you recommend, including how you know them and how long you’ve known them. Include the applicant’s company, employment, school, or opportunity. 

  • Second Paragraph

The second and next paragraphs of the reference letter explain why the individual is qualified and what they can offer. You can use many paragraphs to offer information. Explain why this individual is qualified. Describe particular occasions when the candidate used job-related abilities effectively.

  • Closing Statement

In the last paragraph, provide further details and include your contact data (phone and email) so you can give a vocal suggestion or answer queries. You may also ask the recruiter to contact you if further information is required. 

  • Signature

Sign off the letter with a handwritten signature, then follow it up with your typed name. If you’re sending an email, just put your name followed by your contact information.

Samples And Templates

Both student and professional recommendation letters should be formatted consistently. Start with a brief overview, then discuss the applicant’s background and experience, personal narrative, and closing statements.

(First Name, Last Name)

(Your address, Contact number, Email)

(Today’s Date)

(Hiring Manager or Supervisor’s Name)


(Company Name)

(Company Address)

(Company City/State/ZIP)

Dear (To Whom it May Concern/Mr./Mrs./Ms.),

I am writing to recommend (complete name of the person you recommend) for (whatever you are proposing).

I’ve known (the person you’re suggesting) since (date) in the capacity of (capacity in which you’ve known the person).

I’ve always known (the person you’re suggesting) to be (characteristics such as “honest,” “loyal,” or “hardworking”).

Based on our shared perceptions, I can safely suggest (the person you’re recommending) for (whatever you’re recommending).


(Your Name + Signature + Job Position)

Related Types of Letters

A letter of introduction is used to introduce two people. It is typically used for networking, job applications, and other situations like applying for college entrance, a visa, or even establishing a bank account.

A letter of intent declares a party’s intent to do business. Provisions like secrecy and exclusivity make the letter binding. It’s initially drafted so parties may negotiate and make modifications. The final Letter of Interest document is signed once they agree to the terms.

A cover letter communicates interest in a company position while applying for a job. It introduces the applicant and explains why he’s qualified. It’s crucial for employment applications.

Related Article: Letter of Recommendation vs Cover Letter

An acceptance letter is a type of letter that is written to say yes to a job offer, invitation, gift, offer, contract, scholarship, or anything else that needs a positive response. 

Wrap Up

  • A recommendation letter is a formal document discussing someone’s work, skills, or academic achievements and potential.
  • Recommendation letters may talk about your personality, work ethic, involvement in the community, and academic achievements.
  • If you want a recommendation letter, the writer should be a prior employer, professor, or friend who knows the candidate’s work and can recommend him to hiringhire managers and interviews.
  • There are three basic recommendation letters: Academic Recommendation Letters, Employ Recommendations, and Character/Personal References.
  • A recommendation letter is more tailored to the person or organization asking for it and the job it aims at.