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Letter of recommendation for coworker when hesitant to right one
October 17, 2018 Anniversary Wishes No comments

A negative recommendation letter can massively impact your job hunting success . If your current employer or manager is unwilling or unable to write you a positive recommendation letter, find someone else who can. with at your current company, more senior colleagues, and previous managers. One-Tap Subscribe.

How to ask for a letter of recommendation for your job search

Our recommendation? Read these tips and getting your next letter of recommendation will be a breeze.

Asking for a letter of recommendation? Try these tips.

Whether you’re looking for a new job, applying for admission to graduate school or vying for a scholarship, chances are you’re going to have competition—plenty of it. You need to find a way to stand out. One way to do so is with a strong letter of recommendation. Naturally, now you're nervously wondering how to ask for a letter of recommendation.

Unfortunately, there's no magic trick; the only way to get a letter is to ask for it. But what will she say? Will you annoy him with your request? Is there anything you can you offer in return? Worse, what if the boss you thought loved you secretly hated you?

Sure, asking for a letter of recommendation can feel awkward, like you're putting someone in a weird position, but believe it or not, most people will be happy to write something on your behalf.

“With people who have worked with me in the past, if they ask me for a letter, I am more than willing to write them one,” says Peggy McKee, CEO of Dallas-based Career Confidential. “If I was happy with them, I would like to do anything I could to help them going forward.”

See, it’s not that difficult! But if you’re still hesitant and unsure how to ask for a letter of recommendation, try these approaches.

How to go about asking for a letter of recommendation

1. Just pop the question

Yes, it may sound simplistic, but the truth is the way to ask for a letter of recommendation is to come right out and ask.

“A lot of students feel anxiety asking for a letter of recommendation; what they should realize is that we get asked all of the time!” says Jessi Franko, an adjunct communications professor at Rider University and Mercer Community College in New Jersey. “They are definitely not the first person to ask and definitely not the last. I get asked to write recommendation letters for current students, former students, and even colleagues at least twice a month.”

Rather than apologizing or beating around the bush, ask the question straightforwardly, noting the purpose for which you need the letter and the deadline.

You say: “I’m applying for an internship, and I need to include two letters of recommendation. Would you be willing to write one for me? I’d need it by the 20th."

2. Suggest some talking points

Don’t just ask, “Can you write me a letter of recommendation?” Be sure to mention what information you’d like the letter to include.

“If somebody is trying to apply for a certain type of job, I would recommend that they try to ask that the reference letter includes specific examples of work that they had done in that field, or specific examples of skills and abilities that they have that would be relevant to that field,” says Jill Saverine, senior vice president of human resources for Stamford, Connecticut-based Aircastle. 

You say: “Thank you for agreeing to write a letter of recommendation for me. I was hoping you could mention the role I played in our big campaign and how my blog post helped increase our company’s site traffic.”

3. Be prepared to write the letter yourself

Let’s be honest, we’re all busy these days. Someone may be willing to write you a letter of recommendation, but feel crunched for time. If that happens, they might ask that you write the letter for them. This is OK. They’ve still offered to help you and you have your signed letter of recommendation. It’s a win-win!

Need help writing it? Use our sample recommendation letter template.

“Put together a few statements about what you’ve done, what you can do, and some of the best accomplishments that you had while you worked there, maybe mention a particular story about something,” McKee says. “Send it to them, let them choose what they want to pick and keep, and put their signature at the bottom—and you’re done!”

You say: “I know this is a busy time of year for you. If you don’t have time to write it, perhaps I could write something for you to review, and if it looks all right, you could sign it?”

4. Once you have the letter, do this next

A strong recommendation letter is an excellent way to boost your candidacy. Having a standout resume is another. Want to make sure your resume has a recommendation of its very own? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression. Ask and ye shall receive!

person writing the letter of recommendation has been in an academic or Graduate schools often ask students to waive their rights to view a recommendation. Did you supervise this person in a working environment or were you a peer colleague? .. semester, the more hesitant a faculty member may become due to time.

How to Write a Rental Reference Letter (Templates)

letter of recommendation for coworker when hesitant to right one

Writing a Reference Letter (With Examples)

By Ali Hale

At some point in life, you’re almost certainly going to have to write a reference letter for someone. It might be a former employee or student, or even a family friend. Here’s what you need to know about the purpose of reference letters and how to write the most effective letter possible.

Note: I will be using “candidate” to refer to the person who the reference letter is about, “you” to refer to the person writing the reference letter, and “recipient” to refer to the person receiving the letter. I’ll emphasise here, though, that reference letters are not only for job or academic “candidates”, it’s just a handy term to use to keep this article straightforward!

What is a reference letter and when are they used?

A reference letter is usually written to testify to a person or (occasionally) a company’s skills, character and/or achievements. Sometimes a reference letter is known as a “recommendation letter”. It is a formal document, and should be typed and written in a serious and business-like style.

Reference letters are used in a wide variety of situations; there is no definitive list that covers all possible scenarios. The most common examples are:

  • When a candidate applies for a job, they may need a reference to support their application.
  • If an interviewee is given a job offer, they may need to supply a reference letter before the contract can be signed.
  • A student applying for an academic course often requires a reference letter to support their application.
  • A student applying for funding will often need to supply reference letters.
  • Companies may use reference letters as testimonies to their trustworthiness and ability to carry out a job well.
  • Prospective tenants may need to provide their landlord with a reference letter, testifying to their good financial status. (This could be from a prior landlord or from a current employer.)

Who should write a reference letter?

If you are approached and asked to write a reference letter for a job candidate, a student or a company, consider whether you can legitimately do so. A reference letter is a formal document, and it is crucial that you do not lie or fudge the truth in it, or there could be legal repercussions. If someone wants a reference letter from you:

  • The candidate should be someone you know reasonably well. For example, you cannot provide any authoritative comment on the academic ability of a student who’s only been attending your lectures for a week.
  • You should know the candidate in a capacity which gives you the ability to write a meaningful reference. For example, if you have worked with the person, it would be appropriate for you to write a reference letter to a prospective employer for them.
  • You should be able to provide an honest and positive reference. If you truly feel that the candidate has no good qualities for you to emphasis, or if you have had a personality clash with them in the past, you should tell them to seek a reference letter from someone else.

What goes into a reference letter?

The exact structure of a reference letter will differ slightly depending on the type of reference it is, but this is a good basic outline:

  1. Start using the business letter format: put the recipient’s name and address, if known, and address them as “Dear [name]”. If the recipient is currently unknown (this would be likely on an academic application, for instance), then use “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom it may concern”.
  2. It is often helpful to introduce yourself in the first couple of lines of your letter. The recipient will not need your life history: just give a brief sentence or two explaining your position and your relationship to the candidate.
  3. Your next paragraph should confirm any facts which you know the candidate will be supplying along with your letter. For example, if you are writing a reference for a job applicant, some or all of these details may be appropriate:
    • The person’s job title, and role within the company.
    • The person’s leaving salary when they were last employed by you (or your organisation).
    • The dates which the person was employed from and until.

    If you are writing a reference letter for an academic course, you will need to confirm the person’s academic grades.

  4. In your third paragraph, you should provide your judgement upon the candidate’s skills and qualities. It is often appropriate to state that you would gladly re-employ them, or that their contributions to your college class were highly valued. Single out any exceptional qualities that the candidate has – perhaps their drive and enthusiasm, their attention to detail, or their ability to lead.
  5. Where possible, use your fourth paragraph to give a couple of concrete examples of times when the candidate excelled. (You may want to ask the candidate to tell you about any extra-curricular projects they’ve been involved in, or invite them to highlight anything they’d particularly like you to include in the reference letter.)
  6. Close your letter on a positive note, and if you are willing to receive further correspondence about the candidate’s application, make this clear. Include your contact details too.
  7. As with any business letter, you should end appropriately; “Yours sincerely” when you are writing to a named recipient, and “Yours faithfully” when you do not know who will be receiving the letter.

Things to avoid

Make sure that you avoid:

  • Mentioning any weaknesses the candidate has.
  • Saying anything that could be construed as libel.
  • Writing in an informal manner: keep the letter business-like. Jokes, slang and casual language are not appropriate and may harm the candidate’s chances.
  • Including personal information not relevant to the application. Mentioning the candidate’s race, political stance, religion, nationality, marital status, age or health is usually inappropriate.
  • Spelling mistakes, sloppy writing or typos: this letter is hugely important to the candidate, and you should take care to make it look professional.

Reference Letter Examples

There are a number of good templates for reference letters available on Business Balls. I’ve included one below, which would be appropriate for a general-purpose reference – if you were writing a reference in your capacity as the candidate’s former employer, you would need to include more specific details:


To whom it may concern

I confirm that I have known (name) for (number) years.

(State relationship – social, business, working together in some other capacity, club, activity, project, etc.)

At all times I have found (name/him/her) to be (state characteristics – eg, dependable, reliable, hard-working, conscientious, honest, peace-loving, courteous, etc – to be as helpful as possible think about what the reader will most prefer to see, in terms of satisfying concerns, or seeing evidence of relevant required skills or characteristics).

I’m happy to provide further information if required. (optional)

Yours faithfully, etc.

You can find examples of full reference letters on About.com’s “job searching” section. They list letters appropriate for a variety of different situations: here’s one from a previous employer in support of a job candidate:

To Whom it May Concern:

I highly recommend Jane Doe as a candidate for employment. Jane was employed by Company Name as an Administrative Assistant from 2002 – 2005. Jane was responsible for office support including word processing, scheduling appointments and creating brochures, newsletters, and other office literature.

Jane has excellent communication skills. In addition, she is extremely organized, reliable and computer literate. Jane can work independently and is able to follow through to ensure that the job gets done. She is flexible and willing to work on any project that is assigned to her. Jane was quick to volunteer to assist in other areas of company operations, as well.

Jane would be a tremendous asset for your company and has my highest recommendation. If you have any further questions with regard to her background or qualifications, please do not hesitate to call me.


John Smith

If you are still unsure what best to include in the reference letter, imagine yourself in the position of the candidate’s prospective employer, or of the panel reading his/her academic application. What information would they need to know? What qualities would they like their candidates to have? Obviously, you should never lie or mislead in a reference letter, but you should try to focus on areas which will give the recipient the most useful information possible about the candidate.

Video Recap

How to Ask for a Reference Letter

If you’re in the position of requiring a reference from a past employer or from someone who taught you at school or university, then you need to approach them in an appropriate way.

“Appropriate” might be quite formal or quite informal, depending on your relationship with them. For instance, if you’re approaching a lecturer who taught you along with dozens of other students and who does not know you well, it’s appropriate to be quite formal; if you’re approaching your former line manager, who you shared nights out and weekends away with for years, then being formal would seem strangely standoffish.

In a fairly formal context, you might write something like this:

Dear (name)

I hope all is going well (at their company / in their department).

I’m applying for (give brief details of the role or position you’re applying for). Would you be able to provide a reference letter for me? I’d be very grateful. You can send it to (add the name and contact details here)

With thanks in advance,

(Your name)

If you’re approaching someone who you’re on very friendly terms with, it’s really up to you to decide what to say.

Whatever the situation, it often makes sense to mention particular points that it would be helpful for the reference to cover (e.g. “The company is especially keen to know about my experience with summarising complex information quickly, as that will be a major part of the role.”)

It can also be helpful to include details that the person writing the letter may not be aware of. For instance, if you took part in significant extra-curricular activities at university alongside your studies, you may want to mention this.

Writing a Reference Letter: Quick Summary

When you’re writing a reference letter, you should:

  • Ascertain why the referee needs the letter. A reference letter for an academic position will read very different from a reference letter for a prospective landlord.
  • Consider whether you can reasonably provide the type of reference required. If you do not know the candidate well, or if you are unable to give them a positive reference, you should encourage them to seek someone else.
  • Format your letter as a standard business letter, and briefly introduce yourself at the start.
  • Confirm key facts about the applicant (e.g. how long they worked for you, and in what role).
  • Provide your judgement upon the candidate’s skills and qualities. Be honest, but do focus on the things that you feel will reflect the candidate in a positive light.

If you’re asking someone to provide a reference letter, you should approach them in an appropriate way, and give them the information they need in order to write you a good reference.

Reference Letter Quiz

For each question, select the correct answer.

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Write a Recommendation or a Reference Letter

letter of recommendation for coworker when hesitant to right one

A recommendation letter is a type of letter that provides a written reference and recommendation for inclusion. If you write a recommendation letter for someone else, you are essentially "vouching" for that person and saying that you believe in him or her in some way.

Components of a Recommendation Letter

Every recommendation letter should include three key components:

  • A paragraph or sentence that explains how you know this person and the duration of your relationship with them.
  • An evaluation of the person and their skills/accomplishments. If possible offer specific examples that illustrate the person’s strengths and qualifications. These examples should be brief but detailed.
  • A summary that explains why you would recommend this person and to what degree you would recommend them.​

Who Needs a Recommendation Letter?

Recommendation letters are generally used by students applying to undergraduate and graduate schools and scholarship or fellowship programs, and by people in the workforce who are applying for jobs. For example:

  • Individuals who are applying to business school or an MBA program typically needs to two three recommendations that explain why they are a good candidate for business school. The recommendation might explain why they have leadership potential or how they have succeeded in past academic or business pursuits. 
  • Some scholarship programs require applicants to submit recommendations to support their scholarship application. This is most common in merit-based programs that award scholarships based on academic merit, volunteer experience, etc. 
  • A job seeker may also need a written professional reference or recommendation that explains or supports the reasons why the job seeker is a good candidate for a particular position or company. These letters tend to focus on professional qualifications. 

Before You Write a Recommendation Letter

At some point in your life, you may need to write a recommendation letter for a former employee, co-worker, student, or someone else that you know well. Writing a recommendation letter for another person is a large responsibility and should be taken very seriously. Before you agree to the task, make sure you have a clear understanding of what the letter will be used for and who will be reading it. This will make it easier for you to write for your audience.

You should also make sure that you know what kind of information is being expected from you. For example, someone might need a letter highlighting their leadership experience, but if you don't know anything about that person's leadership capability or potential, you're going to have a hard time coming up with something to say. Or if they need a letter about their work ethic and you submit something about their ability to work well in teams, the letter won't be very helpful.

If you feel that you can not properly convey the necessary information, because you're busy or don't write well, offer to sign a letter that has been drafted by the person who is requesting the reference. This is a very common practice and often works well for both parties. However, before you sign something written by someone else, make sure that the letter honestly reflects your true opinion. You should also keep a copy of the final letter for your records.

What to Include in a Recommendation Letter

The content of the recommendation letter that you write will depend upon the needs of the person who is requesting the letter, but there are some common topics that are typically addressed in recommendation letters for job and education program applicants:

  • Potential (such as leadership potential)
  • Skills/Abilities/Strengths 
  • Dependability
  • Consistence
  • Persistence
  • Motivation
  • Character
  • Contributions (to class or community)
  • Accomplishments​

Sample Recommendation Letters

You should never copy content from another recommendation letter; the letter that you write should be fresh and original. However, looking at a few sample recommendation letters is a good way to get inspiration for the letter that you are writing. Sample letters can help you to better understand the components of a letter and the types of things that typical recommenders focus on when writing a recommendation for a job seeker, college applicant, or graduate school candidate. 

Then explain how long you have known the person and what your relationship has been (supervisor, teacher, co-worker). Mr. Smart has asked me to write a letter of recommendation to accompany his have no hesitation in recommending Discuss the person's qualifications for the graduate study in the chosen field.

How to Write a Letter of Recommendation for a Coworker

letter of recommendation for coworker when hesitant to right one

• first became acquainted with
• first came to my attention when
• has worked under my supervision for• has worked directly under my supervision
• has been a pleasure to supervise
• have known Ms…. for
• have no hesitation in recommending
• have been his supervisor since
• her performance as a
• his qualifications and performance
• have had the opportunity to
• in response to your inquiry
• in the past two years
• is a pleasure to recommend
• was a student in two of my classes
• was employed by us from.
• I am elated to be called upon as a reference for
• I am happy to write recommendation for
• I have known him since …..when she enrolled in my class
• I have known her for ….months in capacity as …… at ……
• Based on my …..long association with him , I would rank him as one of the best students we ever hadFollowing are a few examples of LOR phrases that can be used in the body:

• a creative problem-solver
• always cheerful and dependable
• always met his deadlines
• always behaves professionally
• among her significant contributions to the company are
• broad range of skills
• can attest to his integrity
• careful attention to detail
• comments are well thought out and clearly articulated
• communicates her ideas clearly
• communicates effectively in writing
• completely loyal and trustworthy
• deals sensitively with customers and co-workers
• demonstrated particular strengths in
• discharged her duties satisfactorily
• follows tasks through to completion
• fulfilled the job requirements admirably
• gets along well with others
• handles administrative tasks efficiently
• handles responsibility well
• has a take-charge personality
• has a flair for organization
• her sensitivity and concern for others
• is innovative and creative
• is a tireless worker
• is mature beyond her years
• is intelligent and ambitious
• is personable and easy to work with
• keeps calm under pressure
• meticulous attention to detail
• one of our finest, most well-rounded undergraduates
• outstanding leadership abilities
• oversees a meeting tactfully and effectively
• punctual and reliable
• punctual and hard working
• self-motivated individual
• wide-range knowledge of
• willing to go beyond what is required
• willing to take on new responsibilities
• works efficiently and effectively
• works independently and effectively
• works well with little supervision
• Has always proven equal to the task assigned
• Is a quick and competent learner
• Has ability to execute task assigned with composure and always sticks to deadline
• Was an asset to the college
• Is an assiduous self-starter who always understands exactly what the assignment is all about
• Unswerving executes high quality work on time
• Has an amazing capacity for taking challenges head on
• Concentrates all her energies on the  task assigned and follows instructions to the tee

Following are a few examples of phrases that can be used in LOR writing:

• an asset to your organization
• every confidence in her ability to
• give my unqualified recommendation
• has always proved satisfactory
• has my highest recommendation
• have admiration and respect for
• have no reservations in
• hope this information proves helpful
• if I can further assist
• if you have further questions
• if you need additional information
• if you would like more information
• recommend without reservation
• recommend her very highly
• request your favorable consideration of
• should be given serious consideration
• should you have any questions
• under other conditions with another supervisor
• under the right circumstances
• will be happy to speak with you
• will meet your expectations
• I enthusiastically recommend…as a truly capable candidate for this program
• will be successful in any enterprise he undertakes
• will be a credit to your
• will measure up to your high standards
• I willingly recommend…as a favorable candidate for  your……Program
• will be a great addition to
• would be an asset to any company
• would be a valuable addition to
• I am confident that ……will continue to be productive
• I firmly believe in his exceptional capabilities for…and strongly recommend him for your program
• I completely endorse her outstanding abilities for..
• I resolutely believe in her outstanding abilities for..
• Rarely have been able to recommend someone without reservation. It is a pleasure to do so in the case of…….
• I highly recommend him  without any reservations
• Seldom have I been able to recommend someone with such confidence

Don’t forget to write the date and the name of the person writing the recommendation. The name of the program you are applying for should come out explicitly in the body of the text in order to make clear that the letter has been written for that occasion. In addition, most recommendation forms contain a certain number of fields (the multiple-choice kind), where the informed referee has to assess, by checking cells, your abilities. Make sure those fields are checked and insert the text in the place left for additional remarks. We strongly suggest that you do not leave blank that portion of the form, but use it instead as a self-standing recommendation letter.

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: How to Write a Letter of Recommendation, Microsoft Office

Then explain how long you have known the person and what your relationship has been (supervisor, teacher, co-worker). Mr. Smart has asked me to write a letter of recommendation to accompany his have no hesitation in recommending Discuss the person's qualifications for the graduate study in the chosen field.

letter of recommendation for coworker when hesitant to right one
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