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
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
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:
Whole sentences can be traded in and out in this way. For
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:
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:
it would produce:
Randal has been a model employee and has mastered all
skills needed to perform his duties.
(Of course, the bold-facing would not appear in the actual
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
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
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.