What You Say If You Want To Write A Letter (or email) Of Recommendation
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.
The easy recommendation message is for someone whom you believe to be well qualified for a position. The harder choices are for recommendation letters that you may be requested to write for individuals of whom you have doubts or concerns.
You may have to wrestle with your conscience about whether you can conscientiously say something good about an individual whom you judge to unqualified. Or worse, when you are asked to give a recommendation for someone whom you know to be a troublemaker or dishonest. Believe me, you will probably get those kind of requests. That topic will be covered in a later article or post.
This post is an example of a recommendation message about someone for whom you do not have serious reservations.
Dear….. or Dear Sir or Madam (if to unknown person/s):
It is a pleasure for me to recommend Susan Hanks. I have known Susan for over 10 years first as her professor at North Carolina State University. I was happy to recommend Susan for her first position, as a management trainee at Costco. She performed so well in that position that she was promptly promoted, and I learned that she subsequently was named among the top performers in her region, etc. etc.
(It is important for you to include some details about how long, and in what capacity you have known the individual.)
From personal observation, I know that Susan is hard-working, highly intelligent, talented, and has a great attitude.
(This part of the message is really important. An astute reader will look very carefully at the words you choose. For example, if you were to write just that the individual is hard-working and has a great attitude, you would signify that the individual you are recommending will perhaps make up for lack of talent or great intelligence by hard work and a good attitude. The words that you choose to omit are critical.)
I have never known Susan to disappoint anyone who gave her a task or responsibility. You will find her to be a joy to work with.
I recommend Susan Hanks without reservation.
(This is the highest compliment that you can pay in a recommendation letter or email. Do not say it unless you feel absolutely comfortable doing it.)
Feel free to contact me if I can be helpful in providing you additional information.
Yours very truly, or
“This is a book to cherish and share.”—Bill Marriott, CEO, Marriott International, Inc.
“Not only does Griessman give us Lincoln quotes, but he also weaves each one into a little jewel of an essay on that particular subject.” Wayne C. Temple, renowned Lincoln scholar, Illinois State Archives
A stirring, inspirational treasury of quotations from our greatest and most admired president, the book offers rich material for interpretation, reflection, and spiritual guidance.
You will also enjoy Lincoln Speaks To Leaders by Gene Griessman and Pat Williams.
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