At some point in your career you may be asked to write a letter of recommendation for an employee or student. This is often a very proud moment in your career because it implies a certain amount of prominence and respect. The weight and color of the paper and the font can all be valid concerns when writing the recommendation.
Assessing the Importance
Recommendation letters are important in helping the person who has asked you to attest to their competency and skills. However, some recommendation letters may require more formality and pomp than others. For those requesting letters for entry-level or intermediate positions, it is not necessary to use heavy resume paper to write the letter. However, you should use paper that is heavy and bright enough to denote professionalism. A 92-95 brightness and 20-25 pound weight is sufficient.
Education Recommendation Letters
Writing an education recommendation letter (such as a letter for admission or scholarship letter) on standard paper should be sufficient. Use paper that is heavy enough to not smudge or smear the print. Resume paper is not necessary, as these letters typically go to committees in which they will simply be copied and distributed to multiple people. Therefore spending extra money on resume paper is impractical.
For recommendation letters of high status, it may be beneficial to write your letter on resume paper. In order to properly distribute the letter, you should find out how many people will be viewing it, and print enough copies to send to the whole selection committee. This may be necessary for high-level employment letters, and prestigious scholarship or grant opportunities may benefit from this kind of professional presentation. Printing on resume paper with a heavy weight and personal monogram will be an impressive addition to your letter.
Type of Paper
For most recommendation letters, it is more common to use matte resume paper of relatively heavy weight. If you belong to an organization such as a business, non-profit organization or academic institution, it is best to use letterhead with a watermark and your own personal contact information at the top of the paper. Granite, ivory or white are the most common professional choices for resume paper, but paper with a light blue or gray tinge may be acceptable. Many professional organizations use letterhead that matches their organizational colors, so this is acceptable as well.