What is an employment recommendation letter?
A letter of recommendation goes a long way when facing an interview. Whether it’s for an entry-level position or one that requires 10 years of managerial experience. This document highlights the applicant’s strengths and commitment in a professional setting — two components all employers earnestly seek. A well-structured letter not only motivates an applicant, it enables them to align the interview towards professional achievements and potential growth points.
Reference versus recommendation letters
Many are unsure of the difference between a reference letter and an employment recommendation letter. A reference letter is a simple letter outlining the applicant’s position and date of joining and/or leaving. A recommendation letter is a detailed document identifying the applicant’s key strengths and professional achievements. Note: For entry-level applicants with no professional work experience, experience from non-profit and voluntary organizations goes a long way. While it may not highlight any direct professional outcomes, it will definitely highlight teamwork and proactive traits.
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For experienced professionals, recommendations have to be specific and structured to the industry they are applying for, ideally coming from upper management. This may include a company President or Vice-President. Additionally, this recommendation should indicate upward and/or lateral progression in terms of managerial responsibilities, and goal achievements such as numbers and statistics. Recruiting.com’s Emily Tatum highlights the importance of attention-to-detail in a recommendation letter. Specifically, customized recommendations relevant to the firm and the position boosting an applicant’s chances at the final round of interviews.
Keeping in line with technology, most employers will refer to LinkedIn. Specifically, for recommendations when shortlisting applicants for the first round of interviews. Many applicants update their LinkedIn profiles at the final hour, which in turn leads to poorly drafted recommendations due to lack of time and context. Always ensure recommenders are given a four week window to complete LinkedIn recommendations. This is also simply common courtesy.
Employer recommendations allow potential employers to weigh the strengths of each applicant. As a result, it’s a key component to finalizing an offer for a particular candidate. Given the right amount of time and information, an employment recommendation letter will play a big role towards getting an offer for your dream job.
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