4 Frames for Reference Letter or Letter of Recommendation
Recommender’s Contact Information
Company or School Name
State, Zip Code
First Paragraph: your connection to the person you are recommending, including how you know
them, and why you are qualified to recommend the person for graduate school.
Second Paragraph: information about the individual you are writing about, including why they
are qualified, what they can contribute, and why you are recommending them. If necessary, use
more than one paragraph to provide details.
Third Paragraph: When writing a letter recommending a candidate for a specific job opening, the
recommendation letter should include information on how the person's skills match the position
they are applying for. Ask for a copy of the job posting and a copy of the person's resume so you
can target your letter accordingly.
Summary: This section of the recommendation later contains a brief summary of why are you are
recommending the person. State that you "strongly recommend" the person or you "recommend
without reservation" or "has my highest recommendation" or something similar.
Conclusion: The concluding paragraph of your recommendation letter contains an offer to
provide more information. Include a phone number within the paragraph, include the phone
number and email address in the return address section of your letter, or in your signature.
I am pleased to write a letter of recommendation for Mr. X.
I have known Mr. X for the past __ years as he has taken the following courses that I teach: [list
courses, give brief description of content of course]. As [his/her] professor, I have had an
opportunity to observe [his/her] participation and interaction in class and to evaluate [name of
student]’s knowledge of the subject matter. [He/she] is and outstanding student in all respects.
[Name of student] has proven that through hard work, follow though, and team work, [he/she]
can accomplish tasks in a courteous and timely manner.
[Give one or two specific examples of the student's performance. Also, list other activities that
the student is involved with at the university and outside of the university. Point out the areas in
which this individual has learned and had the chance to grow with these opportunities.]
[Name of student] is well equipped to grow from challenges that [he/she] is presented with.
[His/her] [list three key traits (examples: patience, teaching ability, strong computer
programming stills…)], prepare [him/her] beautifully for your
[company/organization/school/program]. I strongly endorse making [name of student] a member
of your team at [list company name/school/program].
Problem solving ability
Details of any trait mentioned above (if have any)
1. Discuss with the student aspects of his/her record and his/her motivation for the chosen
2. Describe your qualifications for comparing the applicant to other students. For example;
I have been teaching at FIU for 20 years, and teach approximately 400 students annually.
I have also advised approximately 50 undergraduate students on independent research
3. Discuss to what extent you know the applicant. Make it as personal as possible. For
example---I first had the pleasure of getting to know Mr. X while he visited me during
office hours to discuss advanced concepts not covered in class. Then he worked in my
laboratory for the next academic year, participated in weekly lab meetings, and traveled
with me and several graduate students to a national meeting, where he presented a poster.
4. Try to compare or rank him or her against other applicants. For example---I would rank
him in the top 1% of the students whom I have taught at FIU. For example---She is the
most mature undergraduate student I have come across in my 20 years of teaching.
5. Discuss the applicant’s potential in his or her chosen field