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Sample Letters of Recommendation

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Many jobs or graduate programs will require you to obtain recommendations from people in a position to vouch for your qualifications in the field. Often, the types of recommendations that are requested for graduate programs include one academic, one personal (outside of family), and one employment. References for jobs should be employers or those who can speak about your work ethic, character, and why you are a good candidate for a position.

How to Request a Letter of Recommendation

It is a good idea to acquire letters of recommendation from people such as your advisor or a professor at your college before you leave the school. Often, when you leave, it is harder to track down professors/advisors who have busy schedules. When asking for a letter of recommendation:

  • Send a written request for the recommendation to each person being asked. Give them at least two-four weeks to complete.
  • Provide each with:
    1. A copy of your resume and any other information you feel is relevant (job position, grad school/program you are applying to, etc.)
    2. A form or guidelines that outline exactly what is expected in the recommendation
    3. How many copies you are requesting (for future use)
    4. The deadline by which the recommendation must be received
    5. Correctly addressed, stamped enveloped
  • Send a THANK YOU NOTE to each person who takes the time to do this for you.


For references (listed separately from your resume), ask permission first before listing previous employers and their contact information.  Contact information should include: NAME, ORGANIZATION, ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER, & EMAIL.

  • You should list THREE references (no more, no less) when applying to a job. Make sure to include your contact information (similar to the top of your resume) on your "References" page.
  • When applying for a position, email or send the position description to your references to give them a "heads-up" that the employer may be contacting them. By having the job description, they can also speak for specifically as to why you are a good candidate for that particular position.
  • Again, make sure to THANK your references for offering to speak positively (hopefully!) on your behalf!
Letters of Recommendation

Sample Recommendation Letter

December 6, 2002

To Whom It May Concern:

I write this letter to recommend Bruce McLaren to your organization in any capacity of management and leadership in the area of Information Technology.

Bruce is an individual of extremely high values and morals. He has shown dedication and professionalism in all aspects of our work together over the past three years.

Bruce, in his capacity as product manager for the CarParts Tradera Point of Sales system, worked with me to implement the OpenWebs Intelligent Trading Network (OW-ITN) system to Michelin North America and its independent dealer channel.

As chief architect and product manager of the OW-ITN product, Bruce was a strong leader to his team in Pittsburgh and California, and did very well with his interactions with Michelin Corporate executives as we went through the product roll-out within North America.

Bruce would be a very valuable and highly productive addition to the leadership of your organization.


John Fischer

VP - Tire Solutions Sales & Product Management

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