A recommendation letter helps the reader decide whether to accept the person you are endorsing. The letter should convey the person's strengths and qualifications, so agree to write it only if you have a solid understanding of her job performance and work ethic. The introduction section of the letter allows you to explain why you are qualified to write the document and helps you establish your credibility.
Qualifications and Relationship
Your introduction should include your qualifications and general impressions of the person you are recommending. To avoid making the introduction all about you, maintain balance by stating your credentials while keeping the focus on the former employee. For example: “In my six years as an accounting supervisor for ABC Company, I have directed and overseen the work of more than 50 employees. Jennie Johnson remains one of my top performers to this day. I take great pleasure in recommending her for employment as an accounting assistant at your company.”
Andrea Berry, director of faculty development at the University of Central Florida, recommends putting yourself in the reader's shoes and envisioning what you would look for in a candidate. You might also write about how you met the recommended person and what caused you to hire him. For instance: “A colleague of mine recommended Tom Miller to me for an accounting assistant position at our company. When I first interviewed Tom three years ago, I was impressed by his positive demeanor, communication skills and deep knowledge of general ledger posting.” Then say that his consistency in exhibiting these qualities has led to your enthusiastic recommendation of him.
Important Additional Information
Think of any additional information that could enhance your credibility. For example, if you are no longer with the company or work in a different department, inform the reader. This gives the reader an idea of where you are now compared to where you were when you supervised the candidate. It also indicates that you are being honest about your position. For instance: “Jennie worked as an accounting assistant at our company for five years. I supervised her for three years before transferring to a different department.” In your next sentence, summarize the employee’s work ethic during the time she worked for you. You might also state that the person comes highly recommended not just by you, but also your team.
Writing as a Co-Worker
You can write the letter if you worked with the person requesting the letter, instead of supervising him. Explain that you are writing to recommend your co-worker and include the reason, such as for employment at the company. Next, say that, after working closely with him for the specified length of time, you can vouch for his positive work ethic and performance. Include the name of the company where you both worked.
The body paragraph following your introduction should describe the recommended person's work performance and accomplishments. Include concrete examples that give the reader a good picture of what he stands to gain from accepting the candidate. For instance, you might mention her ability to multitask and deliver accurate results in a fast-paced environment. You might also include a few character traits, such as her integrity and trustworthiness when handling sensitive information.