Tips on How to Write High Impact Letters of Recommendation
Congratulations. You've been asked to write a letter ofrecommendation for an employee or colleague. This person valuesyour opinion of him or her, and you'd be glad to help themadvance. The problem is you're unsure of what to say or how tosay it! Here are four tips to keep in mind when preparing yourrecommendation.
1. Ask the employee about the new position they are applying for.What types of job duties are involved? What sort ofcharacteristics are they looking for in a good employee? In yourletter, describe certain instances where this employee orcolleague really shined ? such as staying late to complete amission-critical project, working diligently to help a customermake a product decision, providing thorough technical support orservice, and so on. These specific situations have more effecton the person doing the hiring than general run-of-the-millphrases like "terrific manager", "enthusiastic worker" and soon.
2. Use powerful statements that really show your depth ofknowledge about the person. A description like "X is a keenobserver who knows how to make customers act and is there withthem every step of the way if they are hesitant or havequestions" gives a true, in-depth knowledge of the person in away that a casual letter may not.
3. Print off five letters of reference on company stationery andgive them to the recipient. This gives your colleague orcoworker additional letters for any other positions that he orshe may be applying for in the future, and saves you from havingto write them if the request comes around again! If you know it,put the address of the company to whom the letter is being sent,as well as the name of the person in Human Resources who will becollecting and organizing these reference letters. Apersonalized greeting is far better than a general "To Whom ItMay Concern" salutation. For the other four copies, leave theaddress area blank so that the employee can use them for otherjob opportunities that arise.
4. If you're really stuck on what to write, or simply don't havetime, ask the person requesting the reference to write a letterabout themselves in their own words and you'll sign it for them. This is a great time-saver and a perfect idea if you'restruggling to put the right words on paper.
If you keep these four tips in mind, writing a letter ofrecommendation will not only come easier to you, but it will letthe person receiving the letter know how much you value them asan employee or colleague, and will help them feel more confidentwhen they move on to the next step ? the interview. Goodluck!
Roger Clark is senior editor at Top Career Resumes and Career Information Resources who provide free information to job seekers on all aspects of finding a new job and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and ifestyle topics.
Benefits of Maintaining a Career Portfolio
Have you ever tried to contact a past employer only to discover they are no longer in existence or your former manager has moved on and been replaced by someone else? Of course, if you are an avid networker this shouldn't be much of a problem when it comes time to provide proof of your experience, education and accomplishments. A portfolio of your career should be developed and maintained using all documentation of your career history in order to overcome any problems that could arise in proving any aspects of your career. It should also include your most up-to-date resume which will be based on the contents of your portfolio. Include documents pertaining to your education including continuing education such as diplomas and certifications. Have any of your past managers sent memos or emails to you or your colleagues mentioning any of your accomplishments? Were your accomplishments published in the company newsletter, local newspaper or a trade magazine? Annual reviews, award certificates, and documents or articles recognizing your contributions to projects and/or business growth are proof of your accomplishments and major contributions. Be sure to clip the articles, print the emails, save the memos and add them to your portfolio.Document volunteer experience you have gained. Although you didn't receive compensation from volunteer experience, you gained some kind of experience and maybe even recognition for your efforts. Were you able to help an organization overcome a major hurdle that hampered their mission? Did you provide assistance to the members of an organization? Were you instrumental in developing new marketing methods to spread news about the mission? Were you instrumental in the expansion of the organization? Anything that can document your career history could prove to be valuable in your career advancement or job search. In the event you are unable to make contact with a former manager or provide up-to-date contact information to a potential employer, your career portfolio could serve as a means of proving your value to the potential employer. Don't take your career lightly. Document your career and maintain your portfolio. Your children and children's children will also thank you in years to come because they will have proof of your accomplishments and the mark you made in history, too.
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Do these thingsInclude your full name - don't use nicknames or abbreviationsUse a telephone number that you can always answer - use a cell phone if possible or make sure there is an answering machine at the listed phone numberUse bullet points to highlight information - it is much easier for an employer to absorb relevant information while scanning your rÃ©sumÃ©Print your rÃ©sumÃ© and cover letter on high quality paper - when printing your rÃ©sumÃ© you should use paper with at least 50% cotton contentBe concise and get to the point - say what you need to say and nothing moreUse action words and descriptive phrases - be creative when trying to get your point across using as few words as possibleTarget your rÃ©sumÃ© - address your rÃ©sumÃ© to the position you are applying for to show that you are really interested in working for that companyFocus on relevant facts only - list skills, accomplishments and personality traits you know the employer is looking forList quantitative support for statements made - back up your skills and experiences with real scenarios, facts and figuresBegin statements with action verbs - action verbs demonstrate your importance to the achievement or experience being describedDon't do these thingsHave any grammatical errors - always have someone else proofread your rÃ©sumÃ© for errors and flowHave any spelling mistakes - always spell check your rÃ©sumÃ©, your contact's name, and the company's nameMisrepresent your background or experience - employers oftentimes verify this information and can fire you if it is discovered that you were dishonestFill in employment gaps with unrelated information - wait to discuss this information in person to put a positive spin on itUse lengthy paragraphs - employers notoriously skip over paragraphs in rÃ©sumÃ©sUse long sentences - just like paragraphs, the reader easily skips over long sentencesUse personal pronouns - keep your rÃ©sumÃ© impersonal for a more professional imageForget to list basic skills - all employers want to see that you are a team player, take charge of situations and are reliable
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Tales From the Corporate Frontlines: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
This article relates to the Job Security competency, commonly evaluated in employee satisfaction surveys. After a large scale cut in personnel, this particular group of employees needed some extra support. Examining the issue of job security measures how your employees view their job security within your organization. In today's often volatile or contingent labor market, it's crucial to understand the level of security your employees feel about maintaining their jobs. Studies show that employees who do not feel secure in their jobs are less likely to be committed to best assisting customers. Evaluating this competency can be especially useful if your organization has suffered recent layoffs or firings.