Home Blog How to Write a Convincing Employee Recommendation Letter: Our Complete Guide

How to Write a Convincing Employee Recommendation Letter: Our Complete Guide

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You need to write a letter of recommendation, and you can already feel your stress levels rising. It’s your first time writing one, so you’re wondering if you’re up to the task. Not to worry! With the right approach, you can craft a letter that says everything you want and more!

As you can imagine, recommendation letters go hand-in-hand with job applications, promotions, and even school enrollments. They offer a third-party view of a candidate’s work ethic and character that only you know.

Your words can have a lot of bearing on the result, so it’s worth getting it right!

Welcome to the Thankbox guide on how to write a letter of recommendation for an employee. We’ll walk you through the letter’s purpose, prep, and structure. 

Let’s get started!

What is a letter of recommendation for an employee?

A letter of recommendation is a document that an employee might request when applying for a new role or position.

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It’s an official letter that provides a new employer with insight into the individual’s abilities and achievements in the workplace. Consider it your chance to help someone land their dream role using a personal and distinct point of view. 

An HR professional will then examine this letter to learn more about the employee’s value, responsibilities, and overall contribution. 

Why is a letter of recommendation important?

For the employee, a well-crafted recommendation letter catapults their application, providing a strong, credible endorsement that sets them apart from others. It validates their skills and accomplishments, increasing their chances of securing the position.

For the prospective employer, it reveals much more about the candidate, helping employers make more informed hiring decisions by providing an additional layer of assurance. This info goes beyond a resume, providing a more in-depth view of their suitability.

Additionally, writing a recommendation letter isn’t just a favour for your staff member—it also comes with numerous benefits for you as the author. Let’s take a look:

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  • Strengthening professional relationships: Writing an exceptional recommendation letter shows that you value and appreciate hard work and are willing to support career growth. This act celebrates staff loyalty, benefiting both parties in the long run.

  • Advance your reputation as a supportive mentor: Writing detailed recommendation letters demonstrates the building of talent rather than mismanagement—showcasing your commitment to others as a leader, which can be advantageous to your career.

  • Investing in a positive workplace culture: By taking the time to write a recommendation letter, you’re contributing to a culture of support and recognition. Staff have direct evidence that their efforts are acknowledged and rewarded—leading to higher productivity and increased employee retention.

Clover icon Say Goodbye & Good Luck With Thankbox!

What better way to honour an employee’s contributions than by giving them a memorable send-off? With just a few clicks, you can create a personalised Thankbox to celebrate their journey. Start your Thankbox today and make every goodbye a cherished memory!

Preparing to write the letter

Before you start writing, start collecting information about the employee so your letter is accurate and effective. Here’s what you’ll need:  

1. Details about the job they’re applying for

Familiarise yourself with the job description, required skills, and qualifications. This will help you tailor your letter to include the most relevant aspects of their abilities.

2. Employee’s resume and achievements

Review their resume to get an overview of their professional history, education, and accomplishments. Pay close attention to their key achievements and any notable projects they have completed.


3. Specific qualities and skills to highlight

Consider the qualities and skills most relevant to their new role—technical skills, leadership abilities, workplace communication skills, or other traits that make them a strong candidate. Think about how you can provide concrete examples to illustrate each one.

4. Recall specific instances where they demonstrated exceptional skills

Whether it was handling a challenging project, leading a team to success, or coming up with innovative solutions, these instances of exceptional skills add credibility and depth to your letter. Be ready to describe these situations in detail.

5. Think about their work ethic

Reflect on the employee’s overall work ethic, their ability to work as part of a team, and any other winning traits they possess. Consider their reliability, initiative, attitude, and interactions with colleagues and clients.

Structuring the recommendation letter

A well-structured recommendation letter guarantees that your message is crystal-clear and more importantly, impactful. Here’s how to organise your letter effectively:


Use a business letter format

Always be professional, use a font like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman in an easy-to-read size. A well-formatted letter sets a positive tone and makes a great first impression.

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State the purpose of the letter

Begin your letter by clearly stating its purpose. Mention that you’re writing to recommend the employee for a specific position or opportunity.

Introduce yourself and your relationship with the employee

Briefly introduce yourself—state who you are in relation to the employee by your job title. Go on to describe how you have worked with the employee—first, how long, and second, in what capacity. This context establishes your credibility and the basis for your insights.


“I am writing this letter to recommend, with great enthusiasm, Jane Doe for the position of Senior Marketing Manager at XYZ Company. Having directly supervised her for over three years at ABC Corporation, I have been honoured to witness first-hand how she has made invaluable contributions to our marketing department.”

Body paragraphs

Paragraph 1: Employee’s role and responsibilities

Describe the employee’s job role and primary responsibilities. Provide a picture of their day-to-day duties and the scope of their role within your organisation.


“In her role as Marketing Coordinator, Jane monitored our social media campaigns, coordinated events, and maintained the content calendar. She was a crucial part of our team who made certain all marketing efforts were effectively and efficiently carried out.”

Paragraph 2: Specific achievements and skills

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Highlight their key accomplishments and skills with specific examples. Focus on those relevant to the position they’re applying for.


“On another note—Jane headed the product launch for our new product, the sales volume of which had a 30% surge in the first quarter. Her creative plan on social media strategies led to a 50% increase in online engagement and kept us ahead in the analysis of the market trend. Jane’s major strengths are in project management, leadership, data analysis, and imaginative solution of problems.

Paragraph 3: Personal qualities

Discuss the employee’s character, work ethic, and interpersonal skills. Provide examples of their reliability, teamwork, and other traits that make them valuable.


“Beyond her professional skills, Jane is known for her excellent work ethic and positive attitude. Jane is a dependable team player who is always above the call of duty. Her ability to develop strong professional bonds have greatly contributed to our team’s cohesion and success. Jane’s integrity, enthusiasm, and dedication make her a pleasure to work with.”


Summarise why you believe the employee is an excellent candidate

Wrap up your letter by summarising why you believe the employee is a strong contender. Reinforce the main points you’ve made about their skills, achievements, and personal qualities.


“In summary, Jane Doe is a highly skilled and dedicated professional who has significantly contributed to our team. Her achievements, work ethic, and positive attitude make her an excellent candidate for the Senior Marketing Manager position at XYZ Company.”

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Offer to provide further information 

Extend an offer to provide additional information or answer any questions the recipient may have. 


“Please feel free to contact me if you need any more information or have any questions regarding Jane’s qualifications.”

Provide your contact information

Include your contact information to make it easy for them to reach you—typically your phone number and email address.


“Thank you for considering my recommendation. You can reach me at (your phone number) or (your email address).”

By crafting your recommendation letter with a clear introduction, detailed body paragraphs, and a concise conclusion, you'll create a convincing endorsement that truly highlights ther potential.

Clover icon Say Goodbye & Good Luck With Thankbox!

What better way to honour an employee’s contributions than by giving them a memorable send-off? With just a few clicks, you can create a personalised Thankbox to celebrate their journey. Start your Thankbox today and make every goodbye a cherished memory!

Tips for writing an effective recommendation letter

Be honest and sincere

  • Provide a genuine assessment of their abilities.

  • Avoid exaggeration to maintain credibility.

Be specific and detailed

  • Use concrete examples to illustrate skills and achievements.

  • Describe particular instances of exceptional performance.

Use a positive tone

  • Focus on the employee’s strengths and positive attributes.

  • Highlight achievements and contributions.

Keep it concise

  • Aim for a length of one to two pages.

  • Be clear and to the point, focusing on relevant information.

Proofread and edit

  • Check for grammar and spelling errors.

  • Ensure the letter is polished and professionally written.

Bon voyage: Say goodbye and good luck with Thankbox!

Writing a recommendation letter might feel daunting, but with the right approach, you can create an endorsement that genuinely helps your employee. Remember, your words carry weight, so embrace the opportunity to be honest, detailed, and uplifting.

And as you bid farewell, what better way to mark the occasion than with a Thankbox? A Thankbox online group leaving card allows you to create a one-of-a-kind virtual card where your whole team can add personal messages, GIFs, photos, and even videos!

Thankbox leaving card sample

It’s a heartfelt way to show you and your team’s appreciationand it’s a card that will never get lost in the post!

The collective messages from coworkers will cement the positive impact they made and ensure they leave on a high note. Additionally, we offer digital gift cards and flower delivery to make their departure even more special.

Say a virtual bon voyage and create a Thankbox today!

Images: Cover | Woman writing on her notebook | Confident businesswoman | Notebook | Man wearing glasses | Woman in blue suit jacket | Happy woman speaking on the phone