One of my colleagues has been absolutely hitting the ball out of the park with this project and I want to write a Letter of Recommendation to his manager.

I'm trying to decide whether or not to CC my colleague on this email. My colleague is aware that I'm writing it but I feel it will carry more weight if I don't CC him. I'm worried that if I CC him then the manager will think I am exaggerating.

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    You could always BCC him... Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 16:31
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    I always BCC my notes of this nature to the individual I'm saying it about. This gives him/her the opportunity to put it into a personal file if they want, etc. Also helps them out if their manager tries to say no one says anything good about them (which I've seen happen). Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 17:56
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    @DanPichelman I never use BCC in situations like this because I don't trust everyone else to effectively respect the "you don't reply all with BCC" policy... I only use it when everyone is BCC'ed.
    – enderland
    Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 18:35
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    In situations where I'm concerned about BCC reply-all mishaps, I send the original email, then forward my sent email to the person(s) whom I would have BCC'd. This lets you put in a little personal note too such as "FYI. Great job!"
    – Philip
    Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 19:48

2 Answers 2


I think what you want to write is actually a Letter of Commendation. These are used to acknowledge performance beyond expectations. A Letter of Recommendation would be written if you were recommending the person for a position, or promotion.

These are generally written with a specific position in mind. Either of these letters is typically written to the manager which the person is either being commended works for or the person who will be the decision maker for the position being recommended.

In general it is not appropriate to provide a copy of this letter to the person actually being commended or recommended. It is generally an honor left to the manager to present a letter of commendation to the person(s) being commended.

Another option is to write a Letter of Recognition, or Letter of Reference. Either of these are appropriate to provide to the subject of the letter.

In the case of the letter of recognition I would generally copy the manager of the subject. A letter of reference may be written as a general recommendation but not for a specific position. A letter of reference will often carry less weight than a letter of recommendation.


Traditional etiquette (of which my grandmother was an astute study and a relentless teacher) says that you do not copy the subject of a LoR. It is a private correspondence between the person writing the recommendation and the recipient.

However, the Internet era has run over traditional etiquette like a steamroller over a soufflé, so it really is up to you. You certainly aren't required to CC the subject, but I don't think anyone would be offended if you did. I certainly would not BCC him, as that could come across as being disingenuous.

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