Comprehensive Guide for Crafting Impactful LORs

A recommendation letter is typically written by someone who knows an individual well and can speak about their qualifications, skills, and character. Job applications, college admissions, or scholarship opportunities are often required. Writing a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) is a valuable opportunity to advocate for someone’s academic or professional journey. Whether you’re a teacher, supervisor, colleague, or mentor, this guide will walk you through the essential steps to create a powerful and effective LOR.


Begin with a brief introduction of yourself and your relationship with the candidate. Mention how long you have known the candidate and in what capacity. You can also include a sentence about the candidate’s background and achievements.

Offer a brief background on your relationship with the person, including the context and duration of your association. This sets the stage for your recommendation.

Understand the Purpose 

Before you begin, clarify the purpose of the recommendation. Identify whether it’s for a job application, academic admission, scholarship, or specific goal. This clarity will inform the content and tone of your letter.


In the body of the letter, provide specific examples of the candidate’s skills, abilities, and accomplishments. Use concrete examples to illustrate your points. You can also mention any challenges the candidate has overcome or any obstacles they have faced. Be sure to highlight the candidate’s strengths and unique qualities.¬†

Address Skills Relevant to the Purpose

Tailor your recommendation to the specific skills or qualities required for the position, program, or opportunity. This ensures the recommendation is relevant and impactful.


In conclusion, summarise your main points and reiterate your recommendation. You can also offer to provide additional information if needed. End the letter with a polite closing, such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards,” followed by your name and contact information.


If it’s a hard copy, sign the letter in ink. A signature adds a personal touch and authenticity to the recommendation.


Indeed, in addition to the general tips provided, adhering to specific rules of writing can further enhance the effectiveness of a Letter of Recommendation (LOR). Here are additional guidelines related to language, grammar, voice, and tense:

Language and Style

  1. Formal Tone: Maintain a formal tone throughout the letter. Avoid overly casual or colloquial language.
  2. Avoid Jargon: Steer clear of industry-specific jargon or technical terms that might not be universally understood.
  3. Clarity and Conciseness: Strive for clarity and conciseness. Use straightforward language to convey your message effectively.
  4. Professional Language: Choose language that is professional and appropriate for the context of the recommendation.


Grammar and Punctuation

  1. Correct Grammar: Ensure correct grammar usage throughout the letter. Incorrect grammar can detract from the professionalism of the recommendation.
  2. Punctuation: Pay attention to punctuation. Proper punctuation enhances readability and comprehension.
  3. Consistent Formatting: Maintain consistent formatting, including font style and size, throughout the letter.

Voice and Point of View

  1. Active Voice: Use the active voice to convey your points more directly and assertively.
  2. First Person: Write in the first person as the recommender, emphasising your observations and experiences.
  3. Consistent Point of View: Maintain a consistent point of view throughout the letter. If you start in the first person, continue in that perspective.

Verb Tense

  1. Past Tense: Use the past tense when describing the individual’s accomplishments, experiences, and contributions. This aligns with the retrospective nature of a recommendation.
  2. Present Tense for Endorsement: Use the present tense when endorsing or expressing your belief in the person’s capabilities.
  3. Positive Language: Frame your statements positively. Emphasise achievements and strengths rather than weaknesses.
  4. Avoid Negativity: Refrain from using negative language or highlighting shortcomings without offering constructive solutions or growth potential.
  5. Quantifiable Information: Use quantifiable information to support your statements, such as percentages, numbers, or specific achievements.

Overall Presentation

  1. Well-Structured Paragraphs: Organise your content into well-structured paragraphs. Each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of the individual’s qualifications.
  2. Logical Flow: Ensure a logical flow of ideas from one paragraph to the next. This enhances the readability and coherence of the recommendation.


Incorporating these language and writing rules into your Letter of Recommendation can elevate your endorsement’s professionalism, clarity, and impact. Paying attention to these details demonstrates your commitment to providing a well-crafted and thoughtful recommendation for the individual.