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Top 3 Formats of Letter of Recommendation


No matter what anyone tells you, rejection hurts.

This includes being denied from a college or your dream job.

Most of the world’s elite universities have grown highly selective. At top schools like Harvard and Columbia, only 5% of the applicants received an acceptance letter in 2019. And Stanford admitted just 4% of applicants. The rejection letter from your dream employer hits you like a ton of bricks too.

Strong Letters of Recommendation showcases what makes you a diverse and notable applicant. Make sure your letter of recommendation doesn’t become your letter of rejection. Here’s a guide to help you navigate through treacherous LOR writing.

What is a LOR


A Letter of Recommendation is a document prearranged by your Professor, Project Guide, or Reporting Manager attached with your application. A Letter of Recommendation is written by somebody reliable, with whom you have worked before. It supports your knowledge, abilities, expertise, and accomplishments.

If you are applying to an overseas university or job, take enough time to consider who to ask for Letters of Recommendation. Recommendations play a significant role in deciding whether you get admission to graduate and the professional program of your choice. On many occasions, it helps in decisions vis-à-vis who is hired for a great job

A good recommendation should be honest, accurate, and complete. And hence to some degree, those providing recommendations are placed in a dilemma. The stress of writing one is candid!

It is a sign of respect and privilege if a person asks you for a Letter of Recommendation. When writing a LOR, you get to know a person better, mainly if you only know them from one class or project.

Types of Letters of Recommendation


A Letter of Recommendation is an on-paper document for a study abroad program containing information about an individual's personality, work ethic, community, accomplishments, etc. 

Letter of Recommendation is mainly of two types:

1. Academic Recommendation Letter: Academic Recommendation Letter is mainly used by the students during the admission procedure. Students may request recommendations from former teachers, principals, deans, trainers, and other education professionals familiar with the student's academic experience or extracurricular achievements.

During the admissions procedure, most schools or colleges expect at least two or three reference letters. Teachers and counsellors help the student through this step.

2. Employment Recommendation: Employment Recommendations work as an effective tool for an individual who is seeking a job. Generally, employment recommendation letters include employment history, work performance, work ethic, and individual accomplishments.

The letters are typically written by former or current employers or direct supervisors. Co-workers are also acceptable but not as desirable as employers or supervisors. Recommendations can be in many forms. They can be uploaded on a website, attached with a resume, supplied with the application, etc. 

Letter of Recommendation: Don't miss this!

The institutions & organizations that request the letter typically expect specific information about the applicant. The general format of the one-to-two-page letter is the following:

  • Official college/institute/committee letterhead
  • Title & Address of where the letter is being submitted
  • The student/employee's full name is in bold
  • Some context about referee's position as well as how well they know the applicant
  • Some context about your relationship
  • Specific accomplishments of the student/employee that are directly relevant to the position/course being applied to
  • An evaluation of the student/employee in direct response to precise requests from the potential employer/school/board, including a comparison to current/other/previous applicants if appropriate and applicable
  • A conclusive statement about the referee's level of support and enthusiasm for the student/employee, as well as an invitation to contact them for additional information

Top Formats of Letter of Recommendation

Here are some sample letters of recommendation to help you get some clarity on various types, formats and some dos and don’ts

Sample 1: LOR for Engineering Student

Tip: This LOR is a good example, but it could have emphasized the student's technical achievements and practical projects, as it is a submission for an engineering student. The LOR should write about the probable strengths & qualities of the candidate that align more with the upcoming course. 

Sample 2: LOR for from Employer for Higher Studies

Tip: This is an excellent example of a LOR. This sample speaks in-depth about the employee, shows a genuine connection between the writer and the employee. It describes how the applicant's capabilities make her a perfect candidate for the course she is about to enrol in. 

Sample 3: LOR for a Ph.D. student

Tip: LOR for Ph.D. students needs to highlight their subject knowledge and technical skills and be more formal than other formats. A Ph.D. is an advanced specialized programme, and the student associated quality must be focused on projects carried out.  LOR is an independent human outlook of the candidate which connects the facts and plans of a resume and statement of purpose.

What Makes a Good Letter of Recommendation?


Robust Letters of Recommendation communicates what makes you a well-defined and memorable applicant. Your LOR can highpoint you from other candidates with similar profiles, where a considerable number of applicants are highly qualified

The best endorsements highlight your key characteristics and demonstrate those traits through specific anecdotes and observations. Those reading the letters should sense that the recommender was excited to write about you and raved about helping you on your path to university or job. Your recommender admires you while having the stories and examples to back up their praise.

Reference letters must discuss your academic aptitude and potential, but they ought to shed light on your character and disposition. They must illuminate what drives you and what skills and experiences have shaped who you are today. Admissions officers see LOR as a change to get a holistic sense of what kind of person will arrive at their campus and how they would contribute in and out of the classroom.

A recommendation can especially speak in your favour if it ranks you highly compared to other students. A phrase like "one of the top five students I've ever taught in my career" can be a powerful statement, especially if it comes from a teacher who has taught for ten years at your school.

Finally, the strongest letters are eloquent and well-crafted. They show that your recommender took the time and thought to develop a powerful statement of support. They add something unique and exciting to your application and catch the eyes of admissions officers, many of whom read through hundreds or even thousands of applications.

Tips for Indian students

An important thing to remember as an applicant is that the Admission Committee runs over a large number of letters and countless records. Here are some guidelines to remember while drafting a LOR for someone:

  • They can undeniably notice if the LOR was copied or composed from the web. So, make sure to write a draft yourself, even if it is stressful.
  • If you compose the LORs yourself, make sure the characteristics and examples are tangible and vary for each LOR. Remember, every person writing for you will have various encounters and relations with you.
  • The subject of mention ought to contrast just like the style of writing

Mistakes to Avoid while Writing a LOR

There are many normal slip-ups which both recommenders or the students requesting a suggestion should keep away from.  Here is a list of the most common and repeated LOR blunders.

  • Not writing an individualized LOR
  • Repeating your SOP & Resume
  • Lack of relevant information
  • Not Validating Your Candidature


A Letter of Recommendation holds extreme importance for a candidate who has applied for a course or a job profile. LOR needs to be comprehensive and precisely elucidated. It should be candid with insights about the applicant and their personality. Once you know what to highlight, how to make the request, and what to provide, you'll be on your way to receiving an excellent recommendation letter and higher chances of success in your application.


Who can write a LOR? 

Ans. A professor or former employer mainly writes LOR. 

Why is the LOR Required? 

Ans. The LOR is required for academic purposes, which tells about students' qualifications, qualities and abilities.

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K Nagaraju
K Nagaraju

Nagaraj is a veteran in processing Canada visas. He proves as the best professional to handle all PR visa process.



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