Letter of Recommendation (LOR) Guide: A letter of recommendation, also known as a LOR, is a document that endorses a person’s professional or academic achievements. The letter evaluates your character and personality, taking into account attributes, strengths and limitations, as well as team contribution and class participation. Previous professors, business owners, customers, teachers, or counselors typically write recommendation letters.
LOR is frequently required for bachelor’s degree programmes in the academic world. Letters of recommendation are important in programmes such as MBA, MS, Computer Science, and others.
Letter of Recommendation (LOR) Types
Students are expected to send an Academic or Professional letter of recommendation based on their achievements and current activities. Graduate courses in management, engineering, healthcare, education, and other fields frequently require both professional and academic LORs.
Academic Letter of Recommendation:
- The academic letter of recommendation is written by teachers/professors/counselors.
- This type of LOR is required when the candidate is seeking admission to Bachelor’s, master or research programs
- At least 2-3 letters of recommendation are required during the time of admission
- The academic letter of recommendation is required to judge the academic performance of the candidate along with the ability to understand difficult concepts.
Professional Letter of Recommendation:
- The professional letter of recommendation is written by Managers & Supervisors
- This type of LOR is required when the candidate is seeking admission to courses like MBA, MS and core engineering programs
- At least 1-2 professional letters of recommendation are required during the time of admission
- The professional letter of recommendation is required to judge the professional behaviour, teamwork and leadership qualities of the candidate.
Letter of Recommendation Format:
A letter describing the individual’s credentials, skill sets, strong points, and weak spots is always forwarded as a reference letter. A typical recommendation letter is divided into three sections, each of which is divided into five paragraphs:
- Introduction (one paragraph)
- Information on applicant’s skills and Achievements (Three paragraphs)
- Conclusion (one paragraph)
Candidates seeking admission to universities in other countries must ensure that their LORs contain these critical elements. The following are important pointers to remember:
- The Letter of Recommendation should have clear information on the candidates’ relation with the recommender. It should also mention the duration and the nature of the relationship between the two.
- The LOR should include detailed information about the student’s accomplishments and abilities. Along with it, there should be clear information on the candidates’ participation in various activities, which demonstrates their leadership abilities. Some of the accomplishments and abilities that every LOR should have are:
- Past & Current Achievements
- Proof of relevant work experience
- Analytical Ability & Critical Thinking
- Participating in extra-curricular activities
LOR Important Writing Tips:
Obtaining a letter of recommendation from your employer or professor may not appear to be a difficult task because these people have already known you for a long time. However, you must make certain that the letter of recommendation format they provide you is spectacular and meets your needs.
Some suggestions for writing a strong letter of recommendation for a student include:
A precise Introduction:
It is standard practice for recommenders to begin the letter with a few lines about themselves, the current professional capacity in which they are serving, and their years of work experience. The beginning should also establish a link between the applicant and the recommender.
Theme & Tone of LOR:
While writing a recommendation letter, recommenders must avoid using conflicting tones. It should also include both the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses.
More Focus on Journey Rather Than Achievements:
Recommenders frequently make the error of singing their candidates’ endless praise without providing concrete examples. The best practice is to impartially lay out the individual’s skills and expertise, along with case studies. For instance, if you genuinely think your applicant has strong leadership skills, characterise a real-life scenario in which he or she worked as a volunteer to take on a new responsibility and illustrated leadership potential.
Keep University Guidelines in Mind:
Occasionally, academic institutions will ask the recommender to follow a particular structure, both in aspects of submissions and content. For example, in Ireland, a LOR must be forwarded with the application form, whereas in the United States, LORs are typically forwarded separately by recommenders.
Mistakes one should Avoid while writing LOR:
There are a few common blunders that both recommenders and students seeking recommendations should avoid. Here are some pointers on how to write a great LOR while avoiding common blunders:
Choosing the Wrong Recommender:
Always request recommendations from people who have recently engaged with you in an academic or professional capacity. You must ideally seek recommendations from educators who have accompanied you in some research/practical capacity, as well as previous workplace managers.
Providing False Information:
It is critical that your company or university lecturer include both your strengths and limitations in their letter of recommendation. Frequently, recommenders focus solely on the individual’s strengths, failing to acknowledge any areas in which the candidate could improve. Academic institutions, on the other hand, value constructive feedback, and including it only adds to the recommendation’s genuineness and sincerity.
Rely on Dishonest Ways:
Nowadays, it’s very appealing to purchase a letter of recommendation, particularly online. It is, however, prudent to avoid these pitfalls. Academic institutions employ advanced plagiarism checkers as well as knowledgeable admissions counsellors.
Failure to Provide Proper Guidelines to the Recommender:
Remember that your teacher works with hundreds of students on a daily basis. And your ex-manager is in charge of a large number of people. Take the opportunity to make your recommender’s life easier by keeping them up to date on your updated achievements and accomplishments.
Allowing Recommender insufficient time to write a LOR is a mistake:
Because recommenders are often professionals occupied with hectic timelines, one must always contact them 3-4 weeks ahead of time. Additionally, you should verify with your recommenders the status of your LOR on regular intervals to maintain that they have not overlooked the critical task you have imparted them with.
The value of a letter of recommendation cannot be overstated, as it conveys far more information about the applicant than academic results, test scores, or class standing. Most of the time, the admissions committee uses the information contained in the letter to understand more about the student’s technical prowess, practical wisdom, communication skills, and professional attributes, which are positive attributes that cannot be expressed on educational documents.