A letter of recommendation is one of the most important pieces in landing a job. If you have a friend who has given you this responsibility, feel honored. It means she really trusts and admires you. Don’t agree to write it unless you can honestly paint your friend in a glowing light. A lukewarm letter will do the prospective employee no favors. But if you feel confident in vouching for your friend, keep in mind a few simple tips to make your letter and the candidate stand out in a crowd.
Who Qualifies as a Professional Reference?
It's essential that you meet a few qualifications. Before agreeing to write the letter, be sure you’ve worked in some capacity with your friend and have known her long enough to truly assess and describe her skills. You may be a co-worker, manager, charity supervisor or even a childhood friend that can speak to her character. When writing the letter, explain your relationship with the candidate. Include the years you’ve known each other, and the various opportunities you’ve had to witness her qualities first hand. This will lend credibility to what follows.
Be sure to ask questions about the place of business at which your friend is applying. You may even go the extra mile by looking it up online to get a feel for the company’s culture. Next, ask your friend to explain the job she is applying for. Is it management, sales or technology-related? Your letter’s content will largely depend upon the job. For example, if it’s one that requires a lot of personal interaction, such as retail, you’ll want to laud her people skills. If it’s that of an executive assistant, her organization and ability to follow directions will be important to include. The more you know about the company and the job in question, the better your letter will be.
How to Write the Letter of Recommendation for Your Friend
Now it’s time to state your friend’s skill sets, her personal qualities, her experience, and anything else that may separate her from the pack. If possible, give an example of a situation where you’ve seen her exceed expectations. Because you are the candidate’s friend, you are in a unique position to describe not only her work ethic and abilities but also her personality. Go beyond describing that she merely can do the job. Explain what training, experience and personal traits she has that will make her successful in the position.
Sample Letter of Recommendation for Friend
Dear Mr. Smith,
I am writing on behalf of Sarah Johnson. I have known Sarah in various capacities for 12 years, both as a co-worker and as a friend. In this time, I have witnessed her stellar organization, time management and communication skills, all of which I believe qualify her for the role of executive assistant.
In addition to her education, Sarah was part of numerous charitable organizations, where she served in leadership roles. Her work as a manager of a nonprofit exemplified her excellent administrative and people skills. Her jobs ranged from bookkeeping to overseeing several teams. Everyone who worked with Sarah admired her for her abilities to motivate others while keeping them on task.
One of her greatest qualities is that of a self-starter. Each time Sarah receives a task, she completes it with gusto. She never misses a deadline and prides herself in exceeding expectations. I believe each of these qualities would make her a huge asset to your company, as it would be difficult to find such a well-rounded, capable team player with a never-ending “can-do” attitude.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out at the email or phone number below. I would be more than happy to discuss Sarah’s qualifications in even greater depth.
Be sure you ask your friend to inform you of the correct format and delivery. For example, does the employer want it as a Word document, PDF attachment or mailed in a sealed envelope? Also, don’t forget to include your contact information, both your phone and email, so the letter’s recipient can follow up with you if needed. Lastly, be sure to keep the letter to under a page in order to keep the reader’s attention.
Stacey Kole holds a Master's Degree in Education and has written for a variety of education publications. She also was managing editor of the International fashion and beauty publication Savvy, penning cover stories on such celebrities as Vanessa Hudgens and Julianne Hough.