Recommendation Letter Examples and Samples

Known as a letter of recommendation, or a reference, it is a testimonial: that is, a written recommendation or support of a person’s skills and attributes, similar to what a letter of recommendation generator would produce. Read our recommendation letter samples to learn more about this form of letter, whether you're writing one from scratch or using a letter of recommendation generator to get started. These samples provide insights into the structure and tone that effectively convey support in a professional context.

Recommendation Letter Examples and Samples

Recommendation letters, a staple in both academic and professional realms, function as a critical tool in providing a comprehensive perspective on an individual’s capabilities and qualifications. These letters, often requested by institutions or employers, offer insights into a candidate’s experience, character, and potential, that mere application forms or resumes might not capture. The depth and authenticity they carry, therefore, have far-reaching implications, especially when it comes to school admissions or job applications.

What is a Letter of Recommendation Sample?

A letter of recommendation is a formal document, penned by a person who is well-acquainted with the candidate, detailing their qualifications, capabilities, and personal attributes. These letters typically originate from educators, supervisors, or any authoritative figure who can vouch for the candidate’s abilities and demonstrate their suitability for a specific role or purpose. The objective is to provide an evaluative account, based on personal experience or professional interactions, to support the candidate’s application, be it for school, research, leadership roles, or a job.

Why are Letter of Recommendation Examples Important?

The significance of recommendation letters cannot be understated. In the vast sea of applications, be it for school admissions, job positions, or leadership roles, these letters serve as a beacon, illuminating the unique qualities of an individual. They are pivotal in providing a more rounded view of the candidate, especially in contexts where decision-making is rigorous.

For school and job scenarios alike, these letters can be the difference between admission and rejection, or employment and missed opportunities. They underscore a candidate’s experience, research capabilities, and other qualities, reinforcing the claims made in their primary application.

Furthermore, a recommendation letter example can always demonstrate the kind of attributes and experiences deemed valuable by institutions or employers. This in turn can guide future aspirants in understanding what is sought after in their respective fields.

Types of Recommendation Letters

Understanding the diverse contexts in which recommendation letters are sought is crucial. Each scenario calls for a specific type of recommendation, sculpted to emphasize particular facets of an individual’s character and abilities.

Academic Recommendation Letters

Tailored predominantly for school admissions or research endeavors, these letters are a testament to a student’s dedication and capability within the academic sphere. An academic recommendation letter is not a mere summary of grades or class ranks. Instead, it delves deeply, offering insights into the student’s intellectual curiosity, participation in class discussions, research undertakings, and even potential for future scholarly pursuits. For instance, a recommendation letter for graduate school would often reference specific projects the student worked on, shedding light on both their depth of understanding and their research methodology.

Professional Recommendation Letters

These are instrumental when one seeks a job or a professional advancement. Crafted with an emphasis on the professional milieu, they focus on various facets of an individual’s work life. Beyond merely stating the roles or designations held, these letters delve into the nuances – from detailing projects that the employee undertook to highlighting their leadership qualities, teamwork, and adaptability in the workspace. An employer or supervisor penning such a letter would touch upon the tangible and intangible contributions of the employee, perhaps referencing specific instances where their prowess was evident, further solidifying their recommendation.

Character or Personal Reference

Venturing beyond the academic and professional domains, these letters provide a holistic view of an individual. Unlike the other two types, these letters aren’t restricted to specific contexts like school or job. Instead, they capture the essence of an individual’s character, their values, integrity, and personal attributes. These letters are particularly valuable when a person is considered for community-based roles, leadership positions in non-professional settings, or even for personal validations in scenarios like housing agreements. Authored by individuals who’ve had meaningful personal interactions with the candidate, such letters convey the person’s reliability, trustworthiness, and interpersonal skills, painting a vivid picture of their persona.

How to Write a Recommendation Letter Sample

Crafting a recommendation letter demands a meticulous approach. The writer must first understand the purpose – is it for school admission or a job application? Next, there’s a need to gather comprehensive information about the candidate, including their past experience, leadership roles, and notable achievements.

Start with a formal introduction, specifying your relationship with the candidate. Follow this by detailing their attributes and experiences that make them a fitting choice for the said role or opportunity. Always remember to provide specific examples; a claim is best reinforced by demonstrating instances where the candidate has exhibited the stated qualities.

To ensure that the recommendation resonates with the intended audience, it is paramount to use precise language, maintain a formal tone, and adhere to the norms of grammar and punctuation. By doing so, one not only vouches for the candidate’s credentials but also lends credibility to their own assessment.

Tips for Creating Letter of Recommendation Samples

Clarity and Precision

A commendable recommendation letter strikes a balance between being concise and informative. It’s essential to be unambiguous in your praises or critiques. Highlighting specific instances or behaviors can greatly elevate the impact of your commendation. For instance, instead of vaguely stating that a student is “diligent”, you could mention how they consistently submitted assignments ahead of deadlines.

Maintain Objectivity

While it’s natural to focus on an individual’s strengths, it’s crucial to provide a balanced view. This doesn’t necessarily mean highlighting weaknesses, but rather ensuring that the portrayal is honest and credible. By grounding your recommendation in facts and specific experiences, you can lend authenticity to your account.


Understand the context of the recommendation. If it’s for a school application, emphasizing the candidate’s academic and research abilities becomes paramount. Similarly, a job-related recommendation should spotlight professional accomplishments and skills. Ensuring the content aligns with the purpose can significantly enhance the effectiveness of the letter.


Respecting privacy is non-negotiable. Avoid sharing personal or sensitive details about the candidate unless they are directly relevant and the individual has granted permission. An inadvertent disclosure could compromise the trust placed in you and could potentially harm the individual’s prospects.

Consistency in Tone

Maintain a consistent formal tone throughout the letter. This not only enhances the readability but also ensures that the focus remains on the content, avoiding any unintentional biases or perceptions.

Endorse Specific Qualities

Instead of general praises, zone in on specific qualities that make the candidate stand out. Whether it’s their leadership skills, research abilities, or any other notable trait, grounding your praises in tangible examples lends weight to your recommendation.

Provide Contact Information

At the end of the letter, it’s helpful to provide a means of communication, such as an email address or phone number. This offers the recipient a way to reach out for further clarification or details if needed.


Recommendation letters, given their potential influence on pivotal decisions concerning school admissions, job roles, and other opportunities, hold immense importance. When written with diligence, precision, and a formal tone, they not only showcase a candidate’s capabilities but also significantly boost their chances of success in their endeavors. As such, both the requesters and the authors of these letters should approach them with the gravitas they merit.


What is an example of a positive recommendation letter?

A positive recommendation letter is one that confidently endorses the candidate for a specific role or purpose. For instance, a letter for a student applying to graduate school might state: “In my 20 years of teaching, seldom have I encountered someone as dedicated and inquisitive as [student’s name]. Their research on [specific topic], which was later published in [journal name], demonstrates their unparalleled commitment to academic excellence. I wholeheartedly recommend them for your program.”

What does a good letter of recommendation say?

A good letter of recommendation offers a comprehensive view of the candidate, highlighting their strengths, specific achievements, and potential. It provides tangible examples to substantiate claims, addressing the individual’s competence, character, and contributions. Importantly, it is tailored to the purpose—whether that’s school admission, a job, or another opportunity—and reflects an authentic and personal understanding of the candidate’s capabilities and accomplishments.

What not to say in a letter of recommendation?

In a recommendation letter, avoid vague and unsupported praises, negative language, or any sort of bias. Steer clear of personal or sensitive information about the candidate unless directly relevant and permitted. Additionally, refrain from mentioning weaknesses or doubts unless they’re specifically asked for. Overly general statements that don’t offer unique insights about the individual should also be avoided.

What is the best closing of a letter of recommendation?

The best closing for a recommendation letter reaffirms the endorsement in a concise manner, such as: “Based on my experience and interactions with [candidate’s name], I wholeheartedly recommend them for [specific role/position/program]. Should you require any further information, please feel free to contact me.” This offers a clear, final endorsement and provides a pathway for follow-up.

What are the characteristics of a good letter?

A good letter, whether it’s a recommendation or otherwise, is clear, concise, and coherent. It’s tailored to its purpose and audience, maintaining a consistent tone and style. It provides specific details and examples to reinforce its main points, ensuring authenticity. A good letter also maintains proper grammar and punctuation, ensuring easy readability. Lastly, it’s respectful, maintaining the privacy and dignity of all involved parties.