How to write a letter of recommendation for yourself or others?
A letter of recommendation may be requested by an employer during the application process or by a college or university when applying for acceptance. The letter is written by an employer, coworker or friend, and basically serves as a reference for your past accomplishments and on the job performance. The letter of recommendation is a powerful tool if your letter can be written by a previous boss or someone higher up in the company for which you are employed or previously worked. Now the question is, why would your current boss write a letter of recommendation so you can gain employment elsewhere? The most common occurrence for this is during company layoffs, where your on the job performance was good, however layoffs were needed for company downsizing, etc. In addition, if you are in the process of leaving a job, you may ask for a letter of recommendation from your boss or co-workers on your way out to keep on file for future use. This obviously depends on your relationship with your boss or co-workers, however is definitely worth asking for as it will prove as a valuable asset in your future career advances.
To begin the process, you must first choose who will write the letter, then ask their wiliness to write a letter of recommendation for you. Once you have identified who is willing, you should give the person writing the letter guidance for the format. Below is a sample outline of what to ask for.
1.) To begin, have the person start with where they know you from and what the relationship was (your boss, co-worker, etc). If the person is or was a coworker or boss, have them indicate your term of employment, the responsibilities of your position, and any significant projects undertaken by you while on the job. You may also have them include a brief outline regarding the nature of the business of your company (core business, number of employees, etc).
2.) Secondly, have them dive into a detailed evaluation of you as an employee and co-worker. Specifically, have them outline your performance, and if possible, any assignments and noteworthy accomplishments. Have them highlight you strengths and possibly shortcomings in the workplace. Why shortcomings, this makes the evaluation honest. And, everyone has flaws; therefore these are items that you can state you are focused at working on improving. Remember, a common job interview question is to state three of your best attributes, and yes, three of your weakness. (for more on interviewing, visit our interview tips).
3.) Have them state your attributes – were you responsible, motivated, etc? Lastly, have the individual state if they would recommend you for a position – bottom line, if given the opportunity, would they hire you if they were in the shoes of the hiring manager.