Letters of Recommendation that Gets Results

* Writing Letters of Recommendation
* Requesting Them From Others
* Using Them to Best Advantage


Letter of Recommendation Form

Standard letter of recommendation forms can serve as templates for writing effective letters of recommendation quickly and easily; the most practical are software-driven.

The ultimate template for a letter of recommendation is a letter of recommendation form. Using these forms, the writer simply fills in the blanks, and the letter essentially writes itself.

The appeal of such a concept is obvious; however, in practice it is difficult to find a form that can provide more than the most basic and generic of letters. In addition, sending a form with hand-written responses is anything but professional; so in the end the form needs to be completely re-typed - defeating the whole purpose of using the form in the first place.

In practice, the only letter of recommendation forms that can deliver the results required with the convenience desired are software-driven. Often called "letter generators", these programs allow you to fill in the blanks and pick and choose options and then push a button to get the letter you need. Different generators are available to produce all kinds of business letters, including letters of recommendation.

For example, the following options might be presented to allow the user to change the salutation of a letter:

Very truly yours

Whole sentences can be traded in and out in this way. For example:

If you need any further information, you can reach me at 281-555-1212.
If you need any further information, you can contact me at the location listed above.
Please contact me if you need any further information.
Skip this sentence

Letter generators also collect contact information, so that the writer's name and title can appear after the salutation. Similarly, they collect the job candidate's name so that it can be used throughout the letter as well. For example:

Candidate's First Name
Last Name
Use Title?
No, use first name.
Yes, Title =

In this example, the candidate is a male and would be referred to in the letter as "Randal" (rather than "Mr. Breaux"). This information can then be applied to the text of the letter. For example, if this contact information is applied to the following user selection:

Candidate has fulfilled the responsibilities of his/her position in every way.
Candidate has been a model employee and has mastered all the skills needed to perform his/her duties.
Candidate has worked exceptionally hard to develop the skills he/she needs to perform the required duties of his/her position.
Skip this sentence

it would produce:

Randal has been a model employee and has mastered all the
skills needed to perform his duties.

(Of course, the bold-facing would not appear in the actual letter;
I've just used it here for emphasis.)

Generating the Letter

This is the coolest part: Once all the options have been selected, the user then presses the appropriate button and... Presto! The system generates the final letter automatically, fully formatted and pretty much ready to go.

If the final letter is not quite perfect, the user can go back to adjust different options and fire off another version, going back and forth until satisfied.

Finally, most generators allow you to copy the final letter and paste it into a word processor for final editing, spell-checking, etc. In this way, the user can produce professional results in minutes.


The only commercially available letter generator for letters of recommendation is called Letter-Machine.com. The software is web-based, so instead of having to download the software and install it on your own computer, you access it through the Internet using your browser. The company sells year-long subscriptions to its service, so if you sign up they will provide you with a password ("unlock key") that will be valid for one year; this password will get you into the system.

Although somewhat unusual, this membership-type arrangement works very well. You do not have to worry that the software will conflict with other software you have already installed, and you can access the program from any computer with an Internet connection. Also, from time to time the company issues updates which you will instantly have without doing anything on your end.

The software itself is easy to use, and on-line videos are available to guide you through how to use it. In practice, though, they aren't really necessary since the system is very simple to use.

Many "versions" of the program are available - so you can select the type of letter you want to write: job application, student admission, etc. The letters produced are quite good and use the "success formula" structure we discuss here. A money-back guarantee is offered if you are not completely satisfied, and the company is extremely good about refunds.

For more information, see Letter-Machine.com.

Automated Recommendation Letters