Suppose you are a part of the admission committee of a university and you oversee the applications of various candidates aspiring to pursue programs at your institution. What would you do to make the screening process more efficient as well as convenient so that you have a structured system to process every application that comes your way? This is how the various assessment approaches such as entrance exams as well as submission of documents like a resume, LORs and SOPs came into being. Whenever someone is looking to attain an academic qualification or trying to apply for a job at a prestigious organization, they generally need to submit one or more letters of recommendation to help the assessment committee understand whether they are a suitable fit for the course or work profile. A LOR is usually written by a previous employer or a professor who knows the person well enough to become a referee and suggests the organization to shortlist the prospective candidate. This blog aims to provide you with a comprehensive guide on the central aspects of a letter of recommendation and the major things you need to keep in mind while writing one.
A Letter of Recommendation (LOR) holds extreme importance for a candidate who has applied for a course or a job profile. The assessment committee allotted to determine the worthiness of a candidate haven’t met them in person or have known them on a personal level and they would not know how talented and capable the candidate is unless their submitted documents highlight their personality and traits. Below mentioned are some of the key pointers you should know while drafting LOR:
- A letter of recommendation needs to be comprehensive and precisely elucidated. It essentially needs to be concise and resourceful so as to provide the reader with insights about the applicant and their personality.
- It doesn’t need to be over-embellished because then it would seem like the person writing is trying to project an exaggerated image of the candidate.
- A LOR must be written with a holistic approach so that as much as a candidate’s strengths and achievements are highlighted, their weak points must also be discussed thus creating a balance between the two.
- It should have a personal touch along with a sense of originality because it should not appear to be copied from somewhere else.
- It should principally highlight the perspective of the person writing it so that the admission committee or the HR department gets a gist of the candidate’s personality from someone who has known them professionally and to an extent, personally.
Also Read: LOR Samples
What Should be Written in a Letter of Recommendation?
To help you understand what a letter of recommendation must contain, we have created a questionnaire with the help of our head coaches that you must take a look at:
What is your relationship with the applicant?
The person writing a letter of recommendation needs to primarily elaborate on how they have known the candidate in order to establish their credentials and reliability.
What do you think are the applicant’s monumental achievements that highlight their talents and characteristics?
While answering this question, the referee needs to support their reasons with specific instances when the candidate exhibited their talents and proved themselves to be worthy despite the hardships they faced. Then, the candidate’s strengths can be related to how they are suitable for the chosen program or career profile.
What are the applicant’s major weaknesses?
Jotting down the weaknesses can be a tricky thing as you need to implement a balanced approach as a recommender. For this aspect of a letter of recommendation, you can’t mention the negative traits of the candidate but mention those things that can still improve. While saying that someone works too hard can seem insincere, you can opt for a rather mediated style and say that they have a strong work ethic.
To what extent does the applicant elucidate originality and independence?
Writing a letter of recommendation for someone who has applied for a managerial position in a firm or a business administration course, the recommender is required to ensure that the candidate has prospective qualities and skills for their chosen profile or program. Alongside, you have to ensure that you highlight their originality of thoughts and how they exhibit a flair of independence in their actions. This can be through citing instances or through their certain personality traits.
How will the program/career profile help the applicant realize their goals?
Concluding the letter of recommendation, you need to add an overall outline of how the course or the job profile is an opportunity for the applicant to grow professionally as well as personally. Connect the candidate’s traits with their chosen program or work opportunity and highlight the key pointers mentioning how it is a suitable choice for them to realize their career goals.
We hope that this blog has helped you understand what a letter of recommendation is and how you can effectively draft it. If you need further expert guidance, you can always reach out to our Leverage Edu experts and we’ll guide you in writing impressive LORs and SOPs to ensure that you get shortlisted for your dream course and university!