Recommendation Letters for Employment

Businessman signing letter
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Has someone asked you to write a letter of recommendation for a job? If you agree to write the letter, be sure to take the time to write a letter that connects the person’s skills and abilities to the specific job. To do this, get all the information you need about the job listing and the person’s work experience.

One way to help write a strong recommendation letter is to look at recommendation letter examples. Below is advice on how to write a strong, positive letter of recommendation for employment, plus a number of letter examples for different situations.

Tips for Writing a Letter of Recommendation for Employment

Melissa Ling. © The Balance 2018

Think Carefully Before Saying Yes. Make sure you feel comfortable writing a positive recommendation for this person before agreeing to write a letter. If you feel you cannot write a positive letter, say you cannot write the letter (you can simply say you feel you do not know the person’s abilities well enough to write for them). It is better to say no than to write a negative letter. Here's how to gracefully decline to write a reference.

Get All the Information Needed to Submit the Letter. Make sure you have all the information you need. Know whom to send the letter to (including the name of the hiring manager, if known), what format to send the letter in (emailbusiness letter, etc.), and any other important information. Also, ask to see the job listing and a copy of the person's resume. This way, you can be specific in your endorsement of the candidate.

Connect the Person to the Job. The most effective recommendations show a strong connection between the candidate’s skills and experience and those required for success in the position they are applying for. Look at the job listing and the person’s resume, and think of ways in which the person has demonstrated the skills necessary for the job.

Use Examples. Include specific examples of times the candidate demonstrated the skills and abilities necessary for the job. For example, if the job requires someone with strong customer service skills, describe a time the person went above and beyond in customer service.

Review and Edit. Be sure to thoroughly proofread the letter or email before sending it. If you are sending a letter, make sure you use business letter format.

If you are writing a traditional letter for an employee, use company letterhead if this is available.

If you send an email, include a clear subject line (such as the name of the job candidate, the job title, and the phrase "reference letter"). Your letter can help the candidate get the job; if it is sloppy, though, it can actually hurt their chances.

Look at Letter Samples. When writing a recommendation letter for employment, it is helpful to review what information is typically included, as well as common formatting. Looking at examples of recommendation letters can help you to make your endorsement of the candidate as convincing as possible.

Review Recommendation Letter Examples

Download the letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.

Sample Recommendation Letter

Melissa Williams Manager
Bath Supplies Plus
2341 Lincoln Street
Springfield, IL 62629

April 12, 2020

Julia Baxter
Sales Manager
Friendly Furniture Company
1834 3rd Street
Skokie, IL 60076

Dear Ms. Baxter:

I’m writing to recommend John Boston for the position of retail sales associate at Friendly Furniture Company. I’ve worked with John for the past five years at Bath Supplies Plus in Springfield, and I’ve always been impressed with his ability to handle customers and to work well with his colleagues.

I have been John’s manager for the five years he has worked with us. He greets customers with a smile, and his expertise is such that he is always able to answer their questions. His sales numbers have increased every year, and we’re sad to lose him as an employee, but we know he’ll be moving to your city very soon.

John would be an excellent addition to your sales team. Furthermore, I believe he’s ready for an entry-level management position. He has an excellent rapport with his co-workers, and they enjoy working with him. I’m sure he’d be excellent as a shift supervisor or assistant manager.

Please feel free to contact me by email ( or cell phone (000.123.4567) if you have any questions.


Melissa Williams (signature on hard copy letter)

Melissa Williams

More Employment Recommendation Letter Examples

Here is a selection of recommendation letters covering a wide variety of situations that you can use to get ideas for your own letters.

Letter Formats and Writing Tips

  • Email Reference Letter Example
    What an email reference letter should look like.
  • Recommendation Business Letter Format Example
    Here is a recommendation that was written by a manager, using business letter format.
  • Recommendation Letter Template
    Use this template as a starting point for writing your own letter of recommendation.
  • Write a Letter of Recommendation
    Advice on how to write a letter of recommendation, including what to include in each section of the letter, how to send it, and more sample letters of recommendation for employment.

Letters from Employers

  • Employment Recommendation Example by a Manager
    Here is a sample recommendation letter by a former manager.
  • Recommendation Letter from a Previous Employer
    Job candidates often ask previous employers for recommendations. Here are two examples – one is a letter, and the other is an email.
  • Reference Letter for an Employee
    Here is an example of a recommendation letter written by a manager for a former employee.
  • General Recommendation for a Former Employee
    This is a recommendation letter for a former employee. The letter is for any job related to the person’s field, rather than a specific job.
  • Recommendation Letter from a Manager
    As a supervisor, you may be asked to write a recommendation for a current member of your team. Here are three example letters for this situation. One is written voluntarily by an employer, and another is written by a manager who is leaving the company.

Letter from Coworkers, Friends, and Specific Types of Employers

  • Personal Recommendation Letter for Employment
    Personal letters of recommendation are those written by family members, friends, and close acquaintances. They speak to the person’s character rather than their work experience. Here are two examples of personal recommendation letters. One is written for a family’s nanny, and the other is written for a student in the writer’s extracurricular Spanish club.
  • Personal Recommendation Letter
    Personal references can be valuable, as they can often highlight relevant skills that the candidate has utilized in areas of their life other than their current career. Here are two personal recommendation letter samples (also known as character references).
  • Recommendation Letter for a Coworker
    How to write a great recommendation letter for a co-worker, a sample letter, and tips for what to include.
  • Recommendation Letter for a Summer Employee
    Especially for students, some of the strongest references may come from the supervisors of their summer jobs. It is important that you take the time to write your summer employees strong letters of recommendation.
  • Reference Letter from a Teacher
    Teachers are in an excellent position to provide recommendations for their current and former students. Here is a recommendation from a teacher for a volunteer job.

Promotion & Layoff Recommendations

  • Reference Letter Explaining a Layoff
    It can be helpful to have a manager explain the reasons for a layoff in a reference.
  • Recommendation Letter for a Promotion
    s a manager, you are the best person to endorse one of your employees seeking promotion within the company. Here are two example letters recommending someone for a promotion.