Have you been asked to write a letter of recommendation? Was it…
- to recommend a colleague or someone you supervised?
- as ghost writer for your supervisor to recommend a coworker?
- for yourself when you asked for a letter of recommendation?
When I receive an uptick in queries about letters of recommendation, it means more people are closing in on positions, which is great. What can be tough is navigating the delicate world of letters of recommendation.
Two articles nicely address important issues for drafting letters for yourself or others:
When Someone Asks You for a Reference by Rebecca Knight in HBR at https://hbr.org/2015/10/when-someone-asks-you-for-a-reference
How to write a letter of recommendation – for yourself by Dr. Adaira Landry & Dr. Resa E. Lewiss in Fast Company at https://www.fastcompany.com/90757084/how-to-write-a-letter-of-recommendation-for-yourself
Key takeaways are:
1. GIVE CONTEXT
Establish how the letter signatory knows the person being recommended
2. GIVE DATA
Save superlative conclusions about character for your close. For the body of your letter, provide objective accomplishments that show someone’s capabilities.
3. BE HONEST
Preserve your reputation and only write a letter if you can truly recommend the person. Conversing with the requester about strengths and job requirements will help you decide if you want to put your name on the line. Politely refuse if you would not hire the person for that role.
If someone writes a letter of recommendation for you, be sure to follow up with a thank you and an update on the position. If they care enough to write the letter, they surely are interested in the outcome.
What are your experiences requesting or writing letters of recommendation?