Letters of Recommendation that Gets Results

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


Letters of Recommendation (Home)

Information & examples of letters of recommendation for all purposes -- job search, student admission / scholarship, and personal character references of all types. Requesting letters, writing letters, and using letters effectively to open doors are all explored.

Different people use the term letters of recommendation to mean a whole lot of different things, so organizing all of this has not been easy. We've tried to set up this web site to help you find the specific information you are looking for -- hopefully without your having to wade through a bunch of stuff that doesn't really pertain to you.

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That being said, a lot of concepts apply to any number of the different types of letters -- so some information appears in more than one place. You may find it helpful (or at least interesting) to snoop around a bit here.

What Recommendations do that Nothing Else Can

Picture yourself as someone who is evaluating candidates for admission to a prestigious college program. Typically, you have to review thousands and thousands of application. In this vast pile of applications, everyone is using the same forms, answering the same questions, following the same routine. All of this is in the name of consistency. That's supposed to make the process fair - comparing apples to apples and all that.

You know what else it makes the process? Boring!

Reviewers get sick of looking at all those transcripts and SAT scores. That's what makes letters of recommendation so powerful: they're interesting!

Reviewers rely on letters of recommendation for an inside look; they want insight into who you are - more than what they can get from a bunch of numbers. Reviewers are much more likely to notice you because of something in your letters of recommendation than just about anything else in your application; and remember: if you don't get noticed, you don't get in.

Words Win

Think about it. When the vast majority of candidates are busy filling out their forms, they go into form-filling mode - busy filling out all the little blocks and circles. They see their letters of recommendation as just another form to fill out. They focus much more on numbers - grades, SAT scores... even IQ scores; these are the things they think matter most.

The truth is that for the most part numbers are only used to qualify you; admission offices use them to determine whether you can swing it at their school. Just because you are qualified doesn't mean you are admitted. Numbers can get you kicked out, but they can't get you in. You get in when a review officer falls in love with you as a candidate. Numbers don't do that; words do.

QUICK NOTE: Even a lowly cover letter can be an important source of competitive advantage for this same reason. When most candidates have to write a cover letter, they scratch out a few lines that don't say much more than "here you go." These are often tossed. Say something in your cover letter worth remembering and they'll keep it (and remember it!) because it is unusual. This gives your file more bulk (a thin file is usually a bad sign) and you more "air time."

Every savvy marketer will tell you that people really only use facts and figures to justify decisions they've already made based on emotions. That is as true in the admissions / scholarship process as in any other. For this reason, letters of recommendation are particularly potent. They combine the emotional appeal of words with the logical appeal of an objective opinion from a fellow professional.

The letter's emotional draw comes pre-wrapped with a logical justification built right in. What is more, most candidates hardly give their recommendations a second thought - which is actually great news for you. Because so many candidates neglect their letters of recommendation, it is relatively easy for you to use them to give yourself the edge - a distinct competitive advantage.

QUICK NOTE: Competitive advantage won't get you something you're not qualified for. Rather, it will allow you to get the nod instead of someone else who is just as qualified - or maybe even better qualified - as you. Competitive advantage helps you compete; if you're not qualified then you're really not in the game!


Free Letter-Writing Template

Get Instant Access to Our Free Template:
Step-by-Step Instructions for Writing a Powerful Letter of Recommendation


Automated Recommendation Letters