Writing a letter of recommendation is both an honor and privilege. Whether asked to write or doing in anonymously, the great care taken to make your candidate stand out from others takes time and consideration. Careful word choice and sentence structure has the ability to elevate your recommendation high above others which will ensure more careful consideration for the candidate you are representing. To write a recommendation letter for a citizenship award focus on the characteristics and actions of your candidate for solid content and for further justification try to quantify their actions.
Brainstorm. Before drafting the letter take the time to write notes about what makes your candidate a citizen worthy of recognition. Write down personality traits, daily actions that stand out, community volunteer time and other significant activities that demonstrate outstanding efforts toward citizenship.
Prioritize commendations and characteristics. Take time to reorganize your list by those activities that demonstrate the most exposure. It may not be enough to say that your candidate is always polite. Of more significance would be the number of volunteer hours worked on a housing project or taking care of the elderly. Select those items that have the greatest amount of impact, and be sure to identify these in the main body of the letter.
Draft the letter. Begin with an introduction of yourself and who you are recommending. Commence with a two- or three-paragraph main body with each paragraph highlighting a specific item. As an example, if your candidate is a volunteer, designate one paragraph as a discussion on volunteer hours and the impact of her work on the community.
Edit the first draft. Take the time to proof and revise the first draft. A letter with errors will take away your credibility and possibly eliminate your recommendation from consideration. Check your letter for readability and ensure you take time to explain anything that is not recognizable or unclear. For instance if there is a volunteer organization specific to a local area it may require further explanation for those reading the letter.
Share the second draft. After having made corrections have another person read it over. Watch him for his reaction and see if he is impressed. Do not be afraid to ask his opinion and whether he would award the individual you are recommending with an award. This second review may point out some weak spots in the letter that can be improved before submission.
Finalize the recommendation and prepare for delivery. Print a clean copy and affix the appropriate postage to the envelope. A delay in the recommendation could disqualify your candidate for eligibility.
James G. Pradke began writing freelance in 2010 and currently authors the "Clarion Post." Areas of particular expertise include education, small business, arts, international travel, and home and garden. Pradke possesses a Master of Arts in international peace and conflict resolution from American Military University.