A personal friend whom I have known well for many years has asked me to provide him with a written letter of recommendation for a entry level position he is interviewing for. As I have never written a such a formal letter before, how should I go about doing this? I understand that a well written letter can really make a difference in being successfully hired. He is looking to work in investment banking and the firm he is applying to is extremely competitive / difficult to get into.

He has many praiseworthy traits such as a good team player, loyalty, and reliability, all positive traits of an employee

For the experienced hiring managers on this community, how would you go about writing this letter and what are some points of relevance I should emphasize? I only have the best of intentions for my friend's career success and a well written letter might considerably elevate his candidacy.

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    Didn't you just answer your own question in the second paragraph? You can't vouch for him from experience as a co-worker, but you can tell them the things that make you feel he'd be a valuable employee for them. Examples will both fill out the letter and make it more convincing/more memorable.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 7:11
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    You asked the same question in the context of an academic recommendation. Please include links like this. It sounds like you friend should first of all decide whether he wants to stay in academia or switch to investment banking... Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 8:10

1 Answer 1


Context: In your letter, be sure to provide some context by stating how you know the person and how long you have known them.

Scope: Stick to what you know are the best traits about this person (some are listed in your question).

Examples: Instead of saying he/she "is a good team player" provide an example or two of why you feel this way. Are they someone who you consider very reliable? What makes you think so? Again, provide examples of their behavior that supports your claims. This will help to enhance your credibility and the authenticity of your letter.

Brevity: It doesn't have to be long, so don't feel like you need to pad it.

Avoid Speculation: I would avoid sharing your thoughts on degree of fit for a particular position unless you have some directly related experience that makes your opinion relevant. Saying "He would make a great banker" doesn't help unless you yourself have been in a similar position or worked closely with people who have.

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