Writing a Letter
by ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service
Once you have enough information to actually write the letter, set aside anywhere from an hour or two to write it. Remember that, if the applicant needs five versions of the letter (say, for five different graduate programs), you don't necessarily need to write five separate letters. Application forms usually request the same type of information, and you simply need to create variations based on a template.
MAKE A LIST
A great first step is to jot down a list of keywords and key phrases -- accomplishments and qualities -- you want to address within the letter. Such a list will help you avoid the most common mistake made in these letters: vague, metaphoric writing. Anchor your writing to specific images and anecdotes; provide concrete, convincing evidence.
Classify your keywords into:
Is this person a leader?
Is this person a strong team player?
Is this person a keen analytical thinker?
Is this person capable of conducting sophisticated research?
Strong communication skills?
Fluency in certain languages?
Does this person get along with peers?
Does this person have a good sense of humor?
What are the principal two or three accomplishments this person has achieved under my guidance?
What are some points this person must address to advance his/her career?
How well does this person learn from past mistakes?
What do I believe this person is capable of achieving?
Letters of recommendation vary widely in content and form, but solid letters contain a number of common traits. Here below is an outline for a well-structured letter that covers all main points.