Recommendation Letter For A Promotion (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Sep. 15, 2020

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Like other letters of recommendation, recommendation letters for promotions carry a lot of weight and can help someone land a career-advancing position.

If you’re writing a letter for someone, you want to make sure you raise the right points and position them well for the role they want to be promoted to.

Let’s take a look at how to write an effective recommendation letter for a promotion.

What is a letter of recommendation for a promotion?

These recommendation letters are pretty straightforward, but an important part of the hiring and promotion process. Typically a supervisor or manager will write one to recommend their direct report for a promotion within the company. They can take the form of a personal reference or a business reference, as long as they explain why the person has the professional and personal skills to succeed in the new position.

People in charge of hiring decisions will appreciate receiving a letter that is thoughtful and provides insight from someone who has already worked with the applicant. It’s another way for recruiters or HR managers to make sure the applicant is the right fit and actually has the experience listed on their resume. Taking the time to write the letter is an extra seal of approvalin the eyes of your reader.

Before agreeing to take on the task of writing this letter, be sure that you are able to enthusiastically endorse this person for a new position. Recommendation letters need to be positive and glowing, so you should be comfortable writing good remarks for the person you’re recommending. Sometimes it can be better to politely decline to write a recommendation letter than write a poor one.

Recommendation Letter For A Promotion Tips

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The individual writing a recommendation letter for someone seeking a promotion should be sure to include specific examples of the employees’ notable accomplishments. The person writing the letter should state what the employee has done to go above and beyond his/her normal day-to-day job responsibilities and should state how the employees’ efforts contributed to the betterment of the team or the organization as a whole. Personally, I feel recommendation letters are meant to set a person apart from others seeking the same opportunity, and if the recommendation letter is only stating the obvious it will not have an impact on whether or not the candidate gets the job.

What do I include in a recommendation letter for a promotion?

As a professional letter, there’s a format for promotion recommendation letters, but there’s also a few key points to make sure you’re hitting. Here’s some general tips for writing a recommendation letter for a promotion

  1. Introduce yourself. Your letter will carry more weight for the reader when you establish who you are, your role in the company, and your relationship with the recommended person. You don’t have to go in depth, but explaining more about yourself sets the tone for the letter.

  2. Respond to the job qualifications. When writing about the applicant you’re recommending, you have to keep the job description in mind. Think about ways in which the person you’re recommending can meet or exceed the expectations and skills listed in the job description to distinguish them as a great applicant.

  3. Give examples. Writing generalized comments about the person you’re recommending can give a good overview of their professional skills, but going into detail with specific examples will make them stand out. Talk about a time they rose to the occasion to finish a big project or surprised you with their industry knowledge, it’s all valuable to the person reading the letter.

  4. Mention successes. Be sure to name any big successes the person you’re writing about has had, from leading a big project from start to finish or professional awards and certifications that are relevant.

  5. Offer to continue the conversation. Let the person you’re writing to know that you’re willing to answer any follow up questions or make clarifications on what you’ve written. These letters are short, so offering to take the conversation to email or a phone call will allow you to explain more about why the applicant is the best fit for the promotion.

How to format a recommendation letter for a promotion

You can write an effective letter of recommendation for a promotion in four easy steps. Let’s break it down.

  1. Heading. Include your name, address, phone number, and email at the beginning of your letter so the reader knows who it’s from. You’ll also need to include the date and the recipient’s heading with their name, role, company, and company address.

  2. Introduction paragraph. Here you’ll include basic information like why you’re writing the letter, who you’re recommending, who you are, and what your relationship to the applicant is. You’ll want to pick two or three qualities of the person you’re recommending to highlight and state them here too for clarity.

  3. Highlight the applicant’s qualities. The middle two or three paragraphs, depending on how much space you have, will explain the qualities you mentioned in the intro paragraph. This is where you can be detailed and specific about how the person you’re recommending is a good fit for the new position. Bring in anecdotes and emphasize how the person you’re recommending has been an asset to you or your team, if possible.

  4. Conclusion. Make sure that you actually recommend the person you’re writing about and conclude with a few extra remarks on how they would succeed in the position or that you’re willing to give more information if needed.

Sample letters of recommendation for a promotion

Follow these simple templates to write the most effective recommendation letter for a promotion.

Example 1

Jane Doe
123 Main St.
Somewhere, State 12345

September 20, 2020

John Smith
Head of Marketing
Marketing Company
123 Street Rd
Somewhere, State 12345

Dear Mr. Smith,

I would like to recommend Sarah Smith for the position of Account Manager. I have supervised Sarah for three years in her role as Marketing Specialist and I have always been impressed with her work ethic and leadership skills. I know that she will be a responsible and reliable Account Manager.

Sarah has one of the most impressive work ethics I have seen. She is consistently turning in projects and assignments early as well as always willing to lend a helping hand to me and the rest of the team. Her dedication to getting things done efficiently and thoroughly has been a great asset to my team.

I believe Sarah’s strong leadership skills will also help her succeed as an Account Manager. She has a great ability to step up and take charge when needed to make sure projects get done on time. She is a great communicator and will be a skilled liaison between our team and our clients.

I fully recommend Sarah for the position of Account Manager. I’d be happy to provide further information or clarification if needed.


Jane Doe (signature)

Example 2

John Doe
123 Anywhere St
Town, State 12345

September XX, 2020

Kate Johnson
HR Director
ABC Sales
123 Company St
Town, State 12345

Dear Mrs. Johnson,

After working with Luke Smith for many years, I fully support his candidacy for the promotion to Sales Manager. I have watched him evolve from an intern to his current role as a Sales Associate and I know he is capable of taking on added responsibility. His communication skills and his dedication to the company are incredible and I support his career development.

As a Sales Associate, Luke has impressed me with his communication skills, both with his team and clients. He is able to explain products and issues in ways that anyone can understand, something that has been a great help to the team. This goes for both his written and oral communication. Each week he sends me weekly updates to explain issues he faced and problems he solved throughout the week and I appreciate the effort and communication immensely.

Luke has also shown a great dedication to his professional development, both within and outside of the company. He takes any chance he can get to work with a new department or take one of the classes the company offers. Outside of that, he has worked to get industry certifications, like Certified Sales Associate, and other professional advancements.

I wholeheartedly recommend Luke for the role of Sales Manager. Please let me know if I can provide further clarification or answer any questions.


John Doe (signature)

Example 3

Samantha Williams
123 Main St
City, State 12345

September XX, 2020

Tom Brown
HR Director
XYZ Company
123 Street Rd
City, State 12345

Dear Mr. Brown,

I am writing in support of Rachel Johnson’s candidacy for the position of Project Manager. I have worked closely with her for a few years and I am impressed by her proactive nature and excellent communication skills. I know she will succeed as a Project Manager.

Rachel has a great ability to anticipate people’s needs and unexpected situations, so she is always prepared to tackle any issues that may arise. From planning out different scenarios to double checking with her supervisors, she is always taking the extra step to make sure everything is just right. It’s a great quality to have in a colleague and I know she will be an asset to her next team.

When it comes to communicating, there’s nobody like Rachel. She can write a concise and informational report quickly, or plan and host a meeting with a 20 minute notice. She is especially effective at communicating across departments and making sure everyone understands their roles and what is expected of them.

I fully support Rachel’s candidacy for the role of Project Manager. I’m happy to provide more information or answer any questions if needed.

Kind Regards,

Samantha Williams (signature)

The Bottom Line

With these easy templates, you can write a recommendation letter in no time.

Just make sure to follow the format of the sample letters and include key points. For the most effective promotion recommendation letter, include positive remarks about the person you’re recommending and tailor your letter to the job description when possible.

Remember, these serve as reference checks for the person you’re recommending and you want to leave a positive impression on the person you’re writing to. There you have it. Now you have all the tools to write effective recommendation letters that will get your co-workers promoted in no time.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Chris Kolmar


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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