What Is a Letter of Recommendation?


Quick Answer

A letter of recommendation is a document written by a former employer, teacher, mentor or similar person as part of the job application process. The letter highlights the applicant's strengths, traits and abilities to fulfill a particular job.

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What Is a Letter of Recommendation?
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Full Answer

Some employers request two or three letters of recommendation as part of the application process. The letters give the hiring manager insight into the applicant from a different point of view. It goes beyond the job duties listed on the typical resume to give a picture of how the person might fit onto the team.

The person who writes a letter of recommendation should have extensive experience working with the applicant. The writer most often served as a supervisor or mentor in some capacity. A recent graduate might ask a college professor, adviser or supervisor at an internship to write a letter of recommendation.

The common letter of recommendation format starts with a paragraph that explains the relationship between the writer and the applicant. The body of the letter gets into the details of the applicant's skills and abilities as they relate to the position. This might include specific examples the writer observed from the applicant. The letter also includes the writer's contact information in case the employer has additional questions.

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