An introduction of the writer and the background of his relationship with the person they are recommending should be included in a personal letter of recommendation. Specific examples of why the writer believes the applicant is a good candidate for the position or school are also crucial.
When writing a letter for a student as part of a post-secondary application, the writer should briefly address how long they have known the student, and in what capacity. The writer should also include enough background about their own position to show they are qualified to write a letter of recommendation. An overview of the student's positive qualities and achievements should be included, along with reasons why the student is an excellent candidate for the school. Specific examples of times when the student demonstrated positive characteristics or overcame obstacles in order to achieve a goal should be covered.
Recommendation letters for job applicants should also include some background, especially if the writer is a current or former employer of the applicant. A summary of the qualifications and skills the person has and why these attributes would make them the best candidate for the job should be the most detailed portion of the letter. Comments about the applicant's past job performance should be included, especially specific occurrences when the employee went beyond what was required of them.