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How to Write a Good Recommendation Letter

April 26, 2018

Here is the case: one of your employee’s employment contract is coming to an end and he does not intend to renew it. For his job hunt’s need, he asks for a recommendation letter from you. The dilemma arises when you realise that actually the mentioned employee doesn’t deserve the recommendation letter. You might be torn whether you should sugarcoat your words when describing his capability, write the letter and reveal the truth about his poor performance, or never give him the recommendation altogether.

Recommendation or reference letter is commonly used by prospective employers as part of the considerations whether or not a candidate deserves the job offer. While you need to say good things about your ex-employee, you should not make a fake recommendation as it means that you tell fabricated information to the company where your employee will go to. This practice is not only ethical, but also able to shatter your reputation and credibility.

While you cannot tell a lie in the letter, it does not mean you can be rude by frankly revealing that the employee is not recommended as well. When trapped in a similar situation like above case, managers can choose to not give the letter using variety of reasons and explain about it in a well-mannered attitude. You should keep in mind that maintaining good relationship with ex-employee is still important so you should not hurt your ex-employee with problematic recommendation letter.

However, what should you do when an employee insists on asking for a recommendation letter? Follow the tips below to write a good and trustworthy recommendation letter without throwing your integrity away to please your ex-worker:

See also: Self-Development: How to Keep Learning on Your Busy Schedule

Write candidly but positively

Telling the truth does not necessarily mean that you can be judgmental. For example, despite the fact that you think your ex-employee actually does not have much to offer as he lacks of basic skills and knowledge, you should say that the person has potentials to develop and is working on continuous improvement. Your recommendation letter should be made solely based on how you see and gauge their performance when working with you.

Pay attention to details

Before providing the details about someone’s professional capabilities, you should elaborate briefly about how you make the assessment. Here, you should mention your name, job title, and company name followed by your ex-worker’s name, job title, as well as how long he joined your organisation. When telling about his qualities such as characteristics, skills, and potentials, you should also explain about how he has contributed to the team and mention about his achievements.

Open clarification

At the end of a recommendation letter, you can write a final conclusion based on what you have written in the body. Last but not least, you can offer clarification by giving your contact details and letting them know that they can call you whenever they need further information regarding the mentioned employee.

Next read: To Save Face: What You Should Say When You Don’t Know the Answer

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