Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
Recommendation Letters Demystified > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

Recommendation Letters Demystified

There is a lot of confusion about recommendation letters.

Recommendation letters are often referred to in a number of different ways including: letters of recommendation, reference letters, letters of reference, commendation letters, and sometimes even, performance evaluation letters.

This terminology can be quite confusing, especially when these terms are often used interchangeably, sometimes to mean the same thing, sometimes to mean something different.

Below are some definitions that should clear up any confusion, followed by some tips and strategies on how best to deal with recommendation letters.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

Employment-Related

Also called a recommendation letter, it is an employment- related letter that is specifically requested by the person the letter is being written about. Such a letter is normally positive in nature, and written by someone who knows the subject well enough to comment on the skills, abilities, and specific work attributes of that person.

Typically, an employment-related recommendation letter conveys one person's view of the work performance and general workplace demeanor of a person that has worked under their direct supervision. The requestor of the letter normally requires it when applying for a promotion or a new job.

These letters are usually addressed to a specific person to whom the requestor has been asked to submit the letter.

Graduate School Related

Another situation where recommendation letters are a common requirement is for entry into post-graduate programs at a college or university. Graduate programs often require two or more letters of recommendation as part of the program admission requirements.

Normally these graduate program recommendation letters are written at the request of the program applicant by poeple who are familiar with their academic career to-date, and their future education and career aspirations. These people could include: school faculty members, administrators, academic supervisors, and/or employers.

These letters are always addressed to a specific person and are normally included as part of the program admission application.

LETTERS OF REFERENCE

These are more general letters that are often requested by employees when they leave the employ of an organization. Normally factual in nature, they are usually addressed, "to whom it may concern" and provide basic information such as: work history, dates of employment, positions held, academic credentials, etc.

Reference letters sometimes contain a general statement (as long as a positive one can be made), about the employee's work record with the company that they are leaving. Employees often submit these letters with job applications in the hope that the letter will reflect favorably on their chances for the new position.

Character reference letters are sometimes required by employers when hiring individuals to perform personal or residential services such as child care, domestic services, etc. These letters are usually drafted by a former employer and deal with such characteristics as honesty, dependability and work ethic/performance.

COMMENDATION LETTERS

These are unsolicited letters, which typically commend an employee to their supervisor for something outstanding or noteworthy that the employee has done. Normally, these are written by co-workers, or managers from another area of the organization who were suitably impressed while supervising the person on a short-term project.

EVALUATION LETTERS

These are usually detailed assessments of an employee's work performance as part of an organization's regular employee review process. Typically, they are written by the employee's supervisor and are attached to the individual's performance appraisal and placed on their personnel file.

RECOMMENDATION LETTER TIPS AND STRATEGIES

The following tips apply primarily to the writing of recommendation letters and reference letters as defined above. (This list is summarized from "Instant Home Writing Kit").

1. Write It Only If You Want To

If you are asked by someone to write a letter of recommendation about them, you don't have to say "yes" automatically. If it is someone you respect for their work, and you have mostly positive things to say about them, by all means write the letter. There is no point saying "yes" and then writing a letter that says nothing good about the person, or worse still, concocting a misleading positive assessment of someone.

2. If You Must Refuse, Do It Right Up Front

On the other hand, if someone asks you to write a letter of reference for them, and you know you will be hard-pressed to keep the overall letter positive, say "no" right up front. No point in hesitating and leading them on to believe that the answer might be "yes". A gentle but firm "no" will usually get the message across to the person. Explain that you don't think that you are the best (or most qualified) person to do it.

3. Suggest Someone Else

If you feel you should refuse, for whatever reason, it may be helpful for you to suggest someone else who you think might have a more positive and/or accurate assessment of the person. They may also be in a better position to do the assessment. Usually there are a number of possible candidates, and you may not in fact be the best person.

4. Write It As You See It

Writing a less than honest recommendation letter does no one a favor in the end. It is likely to backfire on you, the person being recommended, and the new employer. Also, many employers and head-hunting agencies check references. How would you like to be called up and have to mislead people due to questionable things you may have written in a reference letter?

5. Be Honest, Fair, and Balanced

Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to writing recommendation letters. At the same time, try to be fair and balanced in your approach. If in your estimation, a person has five strengths and one glaring weakness, but that weakness really bothers you, make sure you don't over- emphasize the weak point in the letter, based on your personal bias. Just mention it as a weakness and move on.

6. Balanced Is Best

An overall balanced approach is likely the best one for a letter of recommendation. Even if your letter generally raves about how excellent the person is, some balance on the other side of the ledger will make it more credible. After all, nobody's perfect. There must be some area where the person being recommended needs to improve. A bit of constructive criticism never hurts.

To see a fully-formatted "real-life template" of a letter of recommendation, check out the following link:

http://writinghelp-central.com/recommendation-letter.html

© 2005 by Shaun Fawcett

Shaun Fawcett, is webmaster of the popular writing help site WritingHelp-Central.com. He is also the author of several best selling "writing toolkit" eBooks. All of his eBooks and his internationally acclaimed f-r-e-e course, "Tips and Tricks For Writing Success" are available at his writing tools site: http://www.writinghelptools.com

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

The County

Homeschooled students learn lessons in writing
The County
On the morning of Friday, Jan. 12, seven students ranging from elementary to middle-school age were seated in Room 411 at Presque Isle High School's Adult and Community Education Center, ready to write. Instructor Robin Thurston chatted excitedly with ...


New York Times

No Longer Writing, Philip Roth Still Has Plenty to Say
New York Times
In 2012, as he approached 80, Roth famously announced that he had retired from writing. (He actually stopped two years earlier.) In the years since, he has spent a certain amount of time setting the record straight. He wrote a lengthy and impassioned ...


Forbes

Writing A 'To-Do' List May Help You Fall Asleep Faster
Forbes
The authors, who published their results in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, pointed out that there are two hypotheses to explain how writing a to-do list might affect worry. One is that it would increase it, since you're calling to mind ...
Writing a To-Do List Before Bed Could Help You SleepLive Science
Writing A To-Do List Before Bed May Help You Fall Asleep QuickerIFLScience
Writing to-do list can help you sleep better | Well+GoodWell+Good
Baylor University -Medical News Today -CTV News -TIME
all 78 news articles »

The New Yorker

Writing Teacher
The New Yorker
The gift of a snapshot, book, or story meant to break silence that settles in after they leave the university, the silence that being here, a student for a semester in my fiction-writing class, doesn't break, silence of living ordinary lives we all ...


KUTV 2News

EXCLUSIVE: SLC parking officers fired for taking kickbacks for not ...
KUTV 2News
(KUTV) - Our investigation started 2 weeks ago, when Jeff Clegg, a former Salt Lake City parking enforcement officer, called us to complained he was fired for exposing a culture of bullying at his workplace. After pressing Clegg he revealed the real ...

and more »

The Bakersfield Californian

Give peace and writing a chance at Writers of Kern meeting
The Bakersfield Californian
Longtime peace activist Dr. Frank Romano, author of "Love and Terror in the Middle East," will be the featured speaker at the Writers of Kern monthly meeting on Saturday. Photo by Gregory Holod. Facebook · Twitter · Email; Print; Save. Current world ...


Sleep Review

Writing “To-Do”s Before Bed Helps Healthy Young Adults Fall Asleep Faster
Sleep Review
Writing a “to-do” list at bedtime may aid in falling asleep, according to a Baylor University study. Research compared sleep patterns of participants who took 5 minutes to write down upcoming duties versus participants who chronicled completed ...
How writing your to-do lists can help you sleepWCNC
How writing a journal can help you sleepThe indy100
Can Writing A To-Do List Help You Fall Asleep?SentryTribune

all 4 news articles »

Gizmodo

The Expanded Universe Story That Led to Lucasfilm Re-Writing Star ...
Gizmodo
The acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney in 2012 eventually brought with it a huge change for Star Wars fans: The dissolution of the Expanded Universe, which had been considered as part of the saga's vast canon for over two decades. But apparently, it ...

and more »

The Guardian (blog)

Writing a book helped me come to terms with my twin's death
The Guardian (blog)
I live with a learning difficulty: dyspraxia. In my case, this means I am awkward, clumsy and I don't see the world as others do. I live in a world of right and wrong, of black and white, when – I'm told – it is a world of compromise and grey areas. I ...


Conservative Review

WTF MSM!? Setting the narrative before writing the story
Conservative Review
Misleading from the start … Last week, the Associated Press published a story about the economic benefits of the Trump tax cuts. The story focused on bonuses and claimed that companies weren't also raising wages. It was false and misleading. The ...

and more »
Google News

Help! I Cant Write!

Writer's Block can strike like a King Cobra, paralyzing every... Read More

Writing the KAIZEN Way

Over the past eight years or so, I have tutored... Read More

Dont Get Burned: Evaluating Script Writing Contests

Hundreds of writing contests tempt screenwriters with the lure of... Read More

Five Golden Rules for Writers

Regardless of what sort of writer you are and how... Read More

Editing and Polishing - How Much is Enough?

A few days ago, I critiqued a chapter for a... Read More

A Beginners Guide to Writing a Novel

No one is born a novel writer. But do you... Read More

Self-examination vs Self-indulgence

Self-examination is brutally honest. Self-indulgence is brutally maudlin.Writing requires the... Read More

Screenwriting, Screenplays, Screenwriters - Writing a Screenplay Using Structure

Effective screenwriting relies on the good understanding and use of... Read More

The Dreaded Daily Word Count

Open any book on 'how to write,' and somewhere you... Read More

Put a Spin on Your Idea!

Eight or nine times out of ten, picking up and... Read More

You Can Be An Author

"You should write a book." For years, I had been... Read More

How to Multiply Your Freelance Writing Work

You can turn your $200 fee to write a press... Read More

Learn to Write Like a Pro

Many writers write for the experience. Others dream of having... Read More

Stimulate Your Sensebuds...and Wave Goodbye To Writers Cramp!

When you get stuck for ideas, and the words won't... Read More

Top Seven Ways to Select a Book Topic That Sells

Authors need to write their book according to their target... Read More

5 Ways to Break the Story Spell

You sink back into your favourite chair with a new... Read More

How to Build A Success Freelance Career (Part 1)

In the current job market, many editorial workers have turned... Read More

How You Can Take Advantage of the Increasing Demand for Freelance Online Writers

The freelance writing market is a growing market to be... Read More

Masquerading As Novel ~ Can Author?s Work Convey Important Perceptions?

While novels do not usually attempt to convey concepts about... Read More

Publish Your Novel on the First Try

Rejection. This scary word plagues virtually every writer this side... Read More

Writing Short Info Reports

People want information, they want it quick, frequently in short... Read More

Editorial Freelancing: 5 Must-Know Tips to Getting Your Foot in the Door

So, you want to freelance as an editor, writer, copy... Read More

Does Your Theme Contain Character, Conflict, Resolution?

Creative Writing Tips ?For a theme to work and the... Read More

Taking the Free Out of Freelance Writing

When you run an online agency for freelance writers, editors... Read More

10 Tips on Writing Effective Dialogue

1. Become an EavesdropperListen carefully to the way people REALLY... Read More