Letters of Recommendation are written by professors, employers or other people who know you, highlighting your skills in order to respond to the requirements of the program you are applying for. It should help the selection committee to choose exactly you. Unfortunately, one of the main issues nowadays is that people you ask recommendation from are either incapable or unwilling to write it.
In most cases, a Letter of Recommendation is written for a vacancy or graduate school. However, it may be required for undergraduate studies as well. If your professors are the ones who are writing it, it’s very important that it’s printed on a university letterhead. If you have more Recommendation Letters, whether from your previous/current employer or a certain organization, don’t hesitate to include them in your application. For instance, I have a Letter of Recommendation from the United Nations, because I volunteered at one of their conferences which was held in my country.
The first alternative is that the professors write the Letter of Recommendation by themselves. The best option is to go to the professor who knows you well, in whose classes you stood out and who knows your skills, knowledge and work. Explain them what are you applying for and what should a Letter of Recommendation include, in sense which things they should put the stress on, so that you can stand out among other candidates. Pay extra attention to its reliability. Neither put the skills you don’t have nor be way too self-critical. Bare in mind that the selection committee should choose you among all other candidates. Additionally, pay attention to the fact whether the Letter of Recommendation should be sent by you or by professor/employer themselves.
As the second alternative, usually the most common one is when you write the letter by yourself and take it to the professor to sign it. What’s really important when it comes to this alternative is to never write it on your own initiative without consulting with the professor first. If they tell you to write it yourself, then you should do it.
At the beginning or at the end of a Recommendation Letter, write the name of the person who recommends you, as well as their title, the name of the university or company they work in and the date it was written. Sometimes it’s necessary to add the contact of the person who recommends you, so that the selection committee can check its reliability.
In the Recommendation Letter should be clear why the person recommends exactly you. It should provide an insight into your knowledge, skills, activities and results, work habits, personal characteristics, etc. At last, it should show your full potential to fulfill the criterion and the assurance of the recommender that you are the most suitable person for the program.
It must be signed by the person who recommends you. Bear in mind that it should be no longer than one page. Read it couple of times before it’s signed in order to avoid any grammatical or spelling mistakes.
Down below you can take a look into couple of examples of the Recommendation Letter: