A really good letter of recommendation can help the candidate get that dream job, a prestigious scholarship or an award. However, a bad letter of recommendation can hurt their chances. Therefore, it is important to include following points to bring out the best aspects of the candidate.
In the first paragraph of the letter, the first line should recommend the candidate. For example: "I highly recommend Jane Doe for the Martin Luther King Scholarship."
In the first paragraph of the letter, the relationship of the candidate with the writer should be established. The writer should specify if the candidate was their coworker, employee or a volunteer along with time frame they have known each other.
In the second paragraph of the letter, specific examples of projects, presentations, or any work that candidate did should be given to show the candidate's skills. About 1 to 3 examples or stories can be given to show the skills and strong points of the candidate. These specific examples may cover three to four areas such as academics, leadership and creative activities. The strong points of the candidate and how did the candidate contribute to the projects should be provided. It is also helpful to inform if the writer is willing to work with the candidate in the future if given the chance.
In the concluding paragraph, the candidate should be recommended again along with informing the reviewer that they may contact the writer if more information is needed.
Posted by: Khyati Ganatra, PharmD Candidate 2014