A General Letter of Recommendation can be helpful for individuals who are seeking employment, scholarships, or admission to a program or school. It is typically written by someone who knows the individual well and can provide a positive evaluation of their character, work ethic, and abilities. This letter can provide valuable insights into the individual’s strengths and potential and can help them stand out among other applicants. It is a versatile letter that can be used for a variety of purposes or multiple applications and can help demonstrate the individual’s qualifications and potential for success.
What Is a General Letter of Recommendation?
An individual writes a general letter of recommendation to vouch for the character, abilities, and accomplishments of someone they know. It is usually not targeted to a specific position or opportunity and provides a broad overview of the individual’s qualities. General letters of recommendation are typically used in situations where the recipient may need to provide evidence of their general abilities and accomplishments, such as when applying for graduate school or when seeking employment in a new field. They are often written by former teachers, employers, or colleagues familiar with the individual’s work and character.
Fun Fact: The ancient Romans used letters of recommendation called “litterae commendaticiae.” These letters were written for individuals seeking employment or other opportunities and were addressed to specific people or organizations. Roman letters of recommendation date back to the first century BC and were usually written by high-ranking officials to endorse the character and abilities of the person seeking the recommendation. They included a brief introduction of the individual, their qualifications, and why they were being endorsed. This practice became important in securing employment and has influenced the development of modern letters of recommendation.
General Vs. Specific Letters of Recommendation
A general letter of recommendation is a broad endorsement of a person’s character, skills, and abilities without being targeted to a specific job or opportunity. In contrast, a specific letter of recommendation is tailored to a particular job or opportunity. A specific letter of recommendation provides specific examples of the person’s skills and achievements that are directly relevant to the job or opportunity they are applying for. A general letter of recommendation, while still valuable, may not be as effective in securing a specific job or opportunity because it is not tailored to the specific requirements of that job.
Benefits of a General Letter of Recommendation
A general letter of recommendation is a versatile tool that can be used for multiple applications to showcase a person’s overall character and abilities. The more general endorsement style provides an overview of the person’s skills and abilities without focusing on any specific job or opportunity. This can benefit the person by showcasing their overall character to a potential employer or academic institution. Since it is not tailored to a specific opportunity or job, it can be used for multiple applications. Finally, a general letter of recommendation can be used for networking purposes. It can be shared with individuals who might be interested in learning more about the person’s skills and abilities, even if there is no specific job or opportunity in mind. Writing this can help people expand their network, potentially leading to future job or academic opportunities.
The Purpose and Importance of a General Letter of Recommendation
Recommendation letters are an essential part of many applications. In some cases, they are more highly regarded than a specific list of skills. Here is a list of the purpose and importance of a General Letter of Recommendation:
- Provides a positive evaluation: A General Letter of Recommendation highlights an individual’s strengths, skills, work ethic, and character in a positive light.
- Adds credibility to an application: A letter of recommendation from someone who knows the individual well adds credibility to their application and helps them stand out among other applicants.
- Demonstrates potential for success: A well-written letter of recommendation can demonstrate an individual’s potential for success in their chosen field, program, or school.
- Helps overcome limitations: A letter of recommendation can help overcome limitations, such as a lack of work experience or qualifications, by objectively evaluating the individual’s potential.
- Establishes trust: A letter of recommendation can establish trust and credibility between the individual and the person or organization receiving the recommendation.
- Strengthens relationships: Requesting a letter of recommendation can strengthen relationships with professional contacts and provide opportunities for future collaboration.
How to Write a General Letter of Recommendation
Composing this style of endorsement may not be familiar to you, but it’s easier than you might expect, especially with a high-quality template to assist in your efforts. Here are the steps for How to Write a General Letter of Recommendation:
- Gather Information: Collect all relevant information about the individual for whom you are writing the letter, including their name, the purpose of the letter, and any specific requirements or instructions.
- Format: Use a professional letter format with proper spacing, margins, and font size.
- Introduction: Begin with a professional salutation and personal introduction that establishes your relationship with the individual and your qualifications to write the letter.
- Intention: Clearly state the purpose of the letter and the context in which you know the individual.
- Skills and Attributes: Provide a positive evaluation of the individual’s skills, abilities, and personal attributes, highlighting their strengths and potential for success.
- Anecdotes and Stories: Use anecdotes and stories to illustrate the individual’s skills and personal attributes, providing specific examples of their achievements and contributions.
- Summary and Endorsement: Summarize your evaluation of the individual, emphasizing their potential for success and endorsing their qualifications.
- Closing: Use a professional closing that expresses your willingness to provide further information or assistance and includes your contact information so the recipient can follow up with you if necessary.
- Review and Revise: Edit the letter to ensure it is clear, concise, and error-free.
- Submission and Receipt: Submit the letter on time and verify that the intended recipient has received it.
Pro Tip: Just because the letter is ‘general’ doesn’t mean you can’t tailor it to be aimed toward a specific goal such as education or employment opportunities. Aim to write a versatile letter that isn’t generic.
Sample General Letter of Recommendation
[Your Address Line 1]
[Your Address Line 2]
[City, State, ZIP]
[Recipient’s Address Line 1]
[Recipient’s Address Line 2]
[City, State, ZIP]
Subject: Letter of Recommendation for [Candidate’s Name]
Dear [Recipient’s Name],
I am writing to recommend [Candidate’s Name] for the [position, program, or opportunity] at [Recipient’s Company/Organization]. As [Your relationship to the candidate, e.g., supervisor, colleague, or professor] at [Your Company/Organization or relevant context], I have had the pleasure of witnessing firsthand the dedication, professionalism, and capabilities that [Candidate’s Name] brings to any task.
Over the course of [Time period of your relationship], I have observed [Candidate’s Name] demonstrate exceptional [List key skills, e.g., problem-solving, leadership, and communication] skills. [He/She/They] consistently takes the initiative to tackle challenges and is always eager to learn and grow. [Candidate’s Name] has a natural ability to excel in both individual and team settings, making [him/her/them] a valuable asset in any environment.
In addition to [his/her/their] technical expertise in [specific skill or field], [Candidate’s Name] is also adept at building and maintaining professional relationships. [He/She/They] is known for [his/her/their] approachability, empathy, and ability to collaborate effectively with peers and superiors alike. [His/Her/Their] strong work ethic and commitment to excellence make [Candidate’s Name] a standout individual in any organization.
One notable example of [Candidate’s Name]’s dedication and skill was during [a specific project or situation], where [he/she/they] [briefly describe the candidate’s role, accomplishments, and impact]. This experience is just one illustration of the many ways in which [Candidate’s Name] has positively contributed to our organization.
I am confident that [Candidate’s Name] will be an outstanding addition to your [team, program, or opportunity]. [His/Her/Their] adaptability, resourcefulness, and strong interpersonal skills make [him/her/them] well-suited to excel in [specific field, industry, or position]. I wholeheartedly recommend [Candidate’s Name] without reservation and believe that [he/she/they] will be a valuable contributor to [Recipient’s Company/Organization].
Please do not hesitate to contact me at [Your email address] or [Your phone number] should you require any additional information or clarification. I would be more than happy to discuss [Candidate’s Name]’s qualifications and how [he/she/they] would be an asset to your organization.
A general letter of recommendation can be used in various contexts, such as a job search, college or school application, or personal reference. It typically provides an overview of the person’s skills, abilities, strengths, and achievements without necessarily being tailored to a specific job or opportunity. The recipient can use it to get a sense of the person’s overall character and work ethic. However, it may not be as effective as a specific letter of recommendation targeted to a particular job or opportunity, so it is important to tailor the document to the specific need if possible. Using our General Letter of Recommendation Template, you can create an effective and custom document to help a friend, coworker, employee, or student further their educational or professional goals.