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What goes into a reference letter? What does letter of recommendation contain?

The exact structure of a reference letter will differ slightly depending on the type of reference it is, but this is a good basic outline:

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Who should write a reference letter?

If you are approached and asked to write a reference letter for a job candidate, a student or a company, consider whether you can legitimately do so. A reference letter is a formal document, and it is crucial that you do not lie or fudge the truth in it, or there could be legal repercussions. If someone wants a reference letter from you:

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What is a reference or recommendation letter and when are they used?

A reference letter is usually written to testify to a person or (occasionally) a company’s skills, character and/or achievements. Sometimes a reference letter is known as a “recommendation letter”. It is a formal document, and should be typed and written in a serious and business-like style.

Reference letters are used in a wide variety of situations; there is no definitive list that covers all possible scenarios. The most common examples are:

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Sample Letter of Recommendation as a Colleague

Dear Hiring Manager:

I was initially impressed with Sharon Westman's enthusiasm, communication skills and professional demeanor when I started working with Sharon four years ago as a customer service rep within JRW Inc.'s call center. During the two years Sharon and I worked together and she consistently demonstrated all of these qualities and more, and I heartily endorse her for any customer service position.

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Sample Letter of Recommendation as a Friend

To Whom it May Concern:

As a friend of John Cooper and an employee of General Corporation, I am pleasured to recommend John to you for a placement in Information Systems field. John and I went to IT University together and become really good friends. I have known John for ten years and I am very impressed with his work.

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Sample Letter of Recommendation as an Employer

To whom it may concern:

As a Manager at Genral Corporation, I am pleasured to recommend to you my business associate John S. Kramer. I have worked closely with John for more than six years and I am very impressed with his work.

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Letter of Recommendation Template

To whom it may concern:

First paragraph: Tell here who you are, whom are you recommending, how long have you known each other, and with what capacity.

Second paragraph: Give details about person's qualities you are recommending. Give some specigic examples.

Third paragraph: Sum up with make broad characterization of the person and mention your recommendation.

Sincerely,

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How to Write a Letter of Recommendation

A good letter of recommendation can take a decent amount of time (and thought) to write. They should be a two to three paragraphs in length and give the person receiving the letter a general sense of your feelings towards the individual.

This guide is designed to help demystify the process of writing a reference letter.

How to Write a Recommendation Letter

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