Letter of Recommendation Guide

A letter of recommendation supports job or educational applications by endorsing your abilities, character, and achievements. It's crucial to choose a recommender who knows you well and provide them with relevant information for a strong letter. A great letter can make a big impact on your success.

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What is Letter of Recommendation ?

Letters of Recommendation (LOR) are typically required whenever someone is pursuing an academic qualification or applying for a position at a prestigious organization in order to help the assessment committee determine whether they are a good fit for the course or work profile. Typically, a LOR is written by a former employer or a professor who knows the candidate well enough to serve as a referee and recommends that the organisation shortlist the candidate. This blog aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the key components of a letter of recommendation, LOR formats, and the most important factors to consider when writing one.

Types of LOR

There are two types of Letters of Recommendation, which the majority of us may be unaware of. The distinction between them is based on the nature of the provider or recommender. Let's review and comprehend the two LOR types.

Academic LOR

Academic LOR refers to a letter of recommendation from a faculty member of an academic institution where you previously studied. Universities abroad require at least one academic recommendation. In such situations, you can refer to your previous academic institution for assistance. This type of LOR opening emphasizes the student's aptitude for the course, as demonstrated by their previous achievements.

Professional LOR

The majority of universities abroad require prior work experience, particularly for admission to master's programmes. Professional LORs can be provided by a superior or colleague from your previous organization. Students must be aware that the professional LOR must be included on the letterhead. The professional LOR focuses on determining the candidate's ability to work in a variety of environments and teams, as well as their domain experience.

Who Needs LOR and Why?

All those who intend to pursue higher education will be required to submit letters of recommendation, especially those who intend to study abroad. Regardless of study level, course, or field of study, students are typically required to submit two academic and professional LORs. Students enrolling in UG-level courses frequently lack prior work experience; therefore, they can request letters of recommendation from teachers, professors, counselors, etc. Those who are expected to pursue a master's degree abroad can obtain letters of recommendation from former employers, internship supervisors, college professors, etc.

LOR Formats

Typically, letters of recommendation consist of three to four paragraphs that provide a detailed evaluation of the candidate's potential for future endeavours. Typically, each paragraph focuses on a specific aspect of the individual and provides pertinent information about them. These formats assist letter writers in comprehending the fundamental structure of a recommendation letter.

In the introductory paragraph of the LOR, the relationship between the student and the referee must be explained. In addition, it should contain information about the duration and nature of their acquaintance. This paragraph should also describe the referee's profession and/or area of expertise. It is appropriate for the referee to indicate how long they have known the student.

The referee may discuss their assessment of the student/candidate. In addition, they should include a brief explanation of why they believe the student is the ideal candidate for the course. In these two paragraphs, the referee may also discuss the candidate's accomplishments (academic and otherwise). If the candidate's skills and expertise are mentioned, supporting evidence must be provided. Other qualifications, volunteer activities, etc., may also be added.

The concluding paragraph should be a summary of the reasons for recommending the candidate for the university programme. In conclusion, you can reiterate your recommendation.

In addition, you should use a formal font with black as the font colour. It should be properly formatted with correct alignment, adequate line spacing, and paragraph breaks.

A strong LOR can distinguish your university application from the rest.

Good Vocabulary for LOR Writing
Recommended PhasesRecommended Adjectives
I’m pleased to recommendIntelligent
It has been a pleasure working withOrganised
She is a creative problem-solverLogical
He conveys his ideas clearlyCommitted
Has demonstrated specific strengths inDetermined
Timely completion of tasksOptimistic
Meets the deadline before/on timeEfficient
Remains calm under pressureResponsible
Willing to put in extra effortPatient
Will meet your expectationsTeam-Oriented

Qualities to Mention in LOR

As we've discussed the format of a LOR, you may have noticed that we've placed a lot of emphasis on mentioning the right qualities and skills. However, what are the qualities that one should highlight in their LOR? To aid you in this endeavor, we have outlined below the qualities that must be included in a letter of recommendation.

Qualities for Professional LOR
  • Work Ethic: Highlight the individual's strong work ethic, dedication, and commitment to achieving their goals.
  • Communication Skills: Discuss the individual's ability to effectively communicate ideas and work collaboratively with others.
  • Leadership Abilities: If applicable, mention the individual's leadership skills and ability to motivate and inspire others.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Highlight the individual's ability to think critically and creatively to solve problems and overcome challenges.
  • Attention to Detail: Mention the individual's ability to pay attention to details and produce high-quality work.
  • Time Management: Discuss the individual's ability to prioritize tasks and manage their time effectively.
  • Professionalism: Include the individual's ability to maintain a positive attitude, work well under pressure, and handle difficult situations with tact and diplomacy when highlighting their professionalism.
  • Adaptability: Mention the individual's ability to adapt to changing circumstances and work in diverse environments.
  • Technical Skills: If applicable, discuss the individual's technical skills and how they have used these skills to excel in their field.
  • Commitment to Professional Development: Highlight the individual's commitment to continuing education and professional development, including any certifications, trainings, or workshops they have completed.
  • Qualities for Professional LOR
  • Intellectual Ability: Highlight the individual's intellectual ability, including their capacity for critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.
  • Academic Performance: Discuss the individual's academic performance, including their grades, coursework, and performance in any research or scholarly activities.
  • Research Ability: If applicable, mention the individual's research abilities, including their experience in research projects and the quality of their research output.
  • Writing Skills: Discuss the individual's writing skills, including their ability to express complex ideas in a clear and concise manner.
  • Communication Skills: Highlight the individual's ability to communicate effectively with peers, professors, and other professionals in their field.
  • Work Ethic: Discuss the individual's work ethic, including their dedication to their studies and their ability to manage their time effectively.
  • Initiative: Mention the individual's ability to take initiative and work independently, as well as their willingness to seek out new challenges and opportunities for growth.
  • Teamwork: If applicable, discuss the individual's ability to work collaboratively with others, including their contributions to group projects and their ability to resolve conflicts.
  • Leadership: If applicable, highlight the individual's leadership abilities, including their capacity to inspire and motivate others.
  • Character: Finally, discuss the individual's personal character, including their integrity, honesty, and commitment to ethical principles.
  • Essential tips for writing a Good LOR

    The writer of the letter of recommendation must be completely familiar with the student. He should also know where the student intends to submit this letter of recommendation. The writer of a letter of recommendation (LOR) must keep in mind certain guidelines in order to create an effective letter. Among the advice are:

    Provide specific info about the student

    First, the professor or teacher writing the letter should be familiar with the LOR format. He should have knowledge of the student. The individual can use the examples to illustrate a student's unique skills and abilities. He should mention the student's specific academic skills and qualities. This increases the student's chances of being chosen.

    Keep the tone positive

    The LOR's tone reveals everything about the student. Check whether the tone of the letter of recommendation is positive or negative. The confident tone confirms that the applicant is a strong candidate for the course or position. A negative tone raises questions about the student's abilities. The author of a letter of recommendation may compare the student to others to demonstrate that he is the best competitor.

    Short and formal

    Many teachers and professors compose lengthy letters of recommendation that fail to engage the reader. Always compose a letter of recommendation that is brief and formal. The LOR should consist of two pages. It should fulfill the recipient's needs. Additionally, it should provide concisely important information about the student.

    Follow the submission guidelines

    Checking the LOR submission deadline is essential. The student must submit the letter of recommendation along with the other required materials on time. This facilitates the university application approval process for students. In addition, it allows them to make a positive impression, which increases their chances of being chosen.

    LOR for Top Programs

    Although the general requirements for academic and professional recommendation letters for students are identical, course-specific prerequisites and prompts vary. Specific elite courses have the following prerequisites and organisational structure:

    ProgramNo. of LORsType of LORsTheme
    LOR for MSThreeAt least 2 Academic LORsPlace a premium on academic accomplishments, talents, hobbies, and professional goals.
    LOR for MBATwo to ThreeAt least 1 Professional LORHighlight problem-solving skills, leadership qualities, strengths, and opportunities for advancement.
    LOR for PhDTwo to ThreeAcademic LORsDiscuss your understanding of the topic, your prior research and publications, and your academic success.
    LOR for UGOne to TwoAcademic LORAcademic achievements and peer relations should be highlighted.

    Tips for Writing a Good LOR

  • Gather information: Before starting to write, gather relevant information about the student or candidate you are recommending. This may include their academic performance, extracurricular activities, accomplishments, and goals.
  • Follow the format: Use a standard format for your LOR. This should include an introduction, two or three paragraphs outlining the student's strengths, and a conclusion.
  • Be specific: Provide specific examples of the candidate's strengths, abilities, and accomplishments. This will make the LOR more effective and provide evidence to support your claims.
  • Use a professional tone: Use a professional and formal tone in your LOR. Avoid using casual language or jokes.
  • Be honest: Be honest in your evaluation of the student or candidate. Do not exaggerate their accomplishments or capabilities.
  • Customize the LOR: Customize the LOR to fit the requirements of the specific program or position the student is applying for.
  • Proofread: Proofread your LOR for errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Submit on time: Submit the LOR before the deadline to give the recipient enough time to review it.
  • By following these tips, you can write an effective LOR that will help the student or candidate achieve their goals.

    Mistakes to Avoid in a LOR

    A recommendation letter can make or break a student's opportunity to study abroad. If you have been asked to write such a document, you are responsible for doing so with the utmost care and candour.

    Please avoid the following commonly made mistakes:

  • Being unoriginal
  • Plagiarism and copying and pasting a single LOR for multiple institutions or candidates are the most common pitfalls.

  • Using politically incorrect statements
  • It is important to be sensitive to sensitive topics and avoid topics that may provoke negative reactions.

  • An informal tone
  • You must keep in mind that the letter is completely formal. Even though you are required to discuss personal relationships and anecdotes with the candidate, it is strongly recommended to maintain proper language and structure.

  • Lack of relevant information
  • Ensures that you provide your recommender with sufficient information about yourself. Send them your statement of purpose, curriculum vitae, and any additional credentials to aid them in writing a successful letter of recommendation. Ensure that your referee has a minimum of one month to complete the letter. Ultimately, rushed work is subpar labour.

    LOR formats or Letter of Recommendation Template

    Qualities for Professional LOR

    To Whom This May Concern,

    This is a Referral to support [Student Name], a graduate student of the batch [Duration], “[Stream]”, in, “[College Name]”. I have known her/him for all the years of her/him engineering and hence I have often had the opportunity to observe her unusual abilities, creativity, amazing mathematics skills and the ability to take responsibility. I have taught her the Course of, “[Course Name]”, for three consecutive years and thus had the opportunity to get to know her well and assess her capabilities. The subject, “[Course Name]”, is taught as a part of the Undergraduate curriculum of Bachelors of Engineering course.

    As a first-year student, she/he attended my lectures regularly and attentively. While she/her was studying my course, | was surprised by her/him remarkable abilities of problem solving and grasping the essence of new and complex concepts. Upon completing each course of lectures students are given assignments which consists of completing complex homework and later on submitting final assignments. She/He submitted those assignments well on time and her/him reports were made meticulously. She/he showed good perception of the subject.

    While we proceeded to the second and third year, what drew my attention was that she/he not only managed to perform well in studies but took effectively part in the extra-curricular activities of the college. I being the Head in-charge of the Activity group of our college; came to know more about hers/hims inter-personal and leadership skills when she/he successfully conducted many programs during the Annual Meets and actively volunteered for the rest. She/He has impressive organizational and planning skills and is able to strategize well. Besides, she/he is a team player and leads from the front. This is evident from the fact that she/he has won several titles during the sports meet. Being a sports person, she/he has always showed the Sportsmanship spirit of being assertive, flexible and the most important of being a good team player.

    Moreover, her/him ability to communicate well with the teachers and peers had made her liked by all. She/He has a strong command over spoken as well as written English as seen during several presentations given by he/him in college.

    She/He, as I know has evolved into a dependable, intelligent, erudite, emotionally stable person who is able to generate new ideas and is always full of energy. It would not be an exaggeration, if I describe her/him quite mature and sophisticated.

    From our discussions concerning her/him plan for further studies, I could conclude that She/ He is a person with high intellectual potential. She/ He is devoted to her career and possesses all the qualities to be successful in graduate studies. Owing to her/him keen desire to know more and gain in-depth knowledge of the subject at hand, pragmatic and meticulous way of working, I am sure she/he will perform well in Aerospace engineering as during our of late discussions I could realize that she/he is absolutely focused to build a career in Aerospace research. I strongly recommend her/him for graduate studies at your university and for any merit based financial assistance.

    Signature_________________ Date_________



    Professional LOR

    To Whom This May Concern,

    It is a pleasure to write to you in recommendation for [Student Name] for his graduate studies at your university. As the Director(Projects) of XXXX Pvt. Ltd, I have known [Student Name] since 28° October’ 14. His job duties include Execution of Civil work of 6.7MLD Sewage treatment Plant. Recently, his responsibilities have been increased to , Billing and technical documentation work for IOOMLD Water Treatment Plant at Salaulim, 20,000m 3 Master balancing reservoir at Sirvoi, 6.7 MLD STP at Margao, 5.6MLD STP at Baga and 5.4 MLD stp at Mapusa. He is a dynamic, responsible, and committed employee who has made commendable contributions to the success of our company. He is a cut above the rest, and has great future potential.

    Over the time that I have known [Student Name], he has consistently performed his duties with competence and often goes the extra mile, doing more than expected. For instance, while working on the billing of work done in month of February and March of the Project “Expansion of 100MLD Water Treatment Plant at Salaulim dam”, time taken to make the copy of measurements of work and its abstract was less than expected. With might and main he finished the targeted.

    He has also performed well as a team member. He is easily approachable and is highly respected by his co-workers for his willingness to assist them whenever they need him.

    I do recommend [Student Name] to your university and I am quite confident in his potential and hope that he would have opportunities to study and contribute to the development and reputation of your school. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions regarding [Student Name] application. My contact information is as follows.

    Signature_________________ Date_________



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