Writing a student reference/letter of recommendation
The Careers Service Centre is often asked for guidelines about what should be included in letters of reference. GENERAL GUIDELINES • • • • • • • • •
(JB Aug 2012)
Be specific and give examples to justify the points that you make. Request a CV or personal statement for additional information. This can inform your writing and enable you to be specific e.g. refer to anecdotes that back up points about a student's personality and ability. Raise the issue of references with students in class early in the academic year and clarify your / the Department's procedure for dealing with references. One page of a typewritten A4 page is generally ...view middle of the document...
Refer to the skills of the student. Examples available at http://www.onetonline.org/skills/ It is important to be honest and factual - it would be better to decline to write a letter that is vague in tone. Providing details of relevant attitudes, abilities, competencies and personal attributes is also very important, for example: Good oral communication skills Enthusiasm Degree classification, grades for modules or projects Attitude to study and research Problem solving Good written communication skills Personal / transferable skills Work experience Teamwork Numeracy Business awareness Leaving Certificate grades Computing or information technology skills Self reliance, capacity to work autonomously Course content competency - specific technical skills/methodologies Feedback on placement experience Feedback on a year out
Avoid bland words such as nice, good, fairly, reasonable and satisfactory. Use active verbs such as: managed, liaised, undertook, oversaw, developed, applied, demonstrated, showed leadership
REFERENCE LETTER SAMPLE Below is a suggested format for reference letters. The bracketed words are suggested options to use when applicable to your particular letter. See also the resources section below. Dear [NAME OF EMPLOYER:] or [TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:] PARAGRAPH 1: If written to a specific employer: I am writing this reference letter at the request of [student] who is applying for the position of [job title] with your [firm, company, school, etc.] If written 'to whom it may concern': I am writing this reference letter at the request of [student]. S/he has asked me to write this general letter which s/he may show to any prospective employer who asks him/her for references. If letter is confidential: This is a confidential letter and should be shared only with people in your firm who are directly involved in the hiring decision. This letter should not be shown to [student] who waived the right to see the letter. PARAGRAPH 2: I have known [student] for [length of time] in my capacity as a [your job title] at [your employer]. If Applicable: [student] worked for me as a [job title]/ or [student] belonged to the [club or organisation] for which I served as an advisor/ or [student] took [number] courses from me, including [names]. [Student] earned grades of [list grades], respectively, in those courses. Based on [student's] grades, along with his/her...