Recommendation Letter For A Promotion (With Examples)

By Amanda Covaleski
Dec. 11, 2022

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Summary. When writing a recommendation letter for a promotion for your coworker, you should include your relationship with them, give specific examples of their professional skills, and write why they are the best candidate for the position.

At some point in your career, whether you’re a manager or not, you may be asked to write a letter recommending a coworker for a promotion.

A well-written recommendation letter can have a significant amount of impact on whether or not someone gets a job, so it’s important that you put care and effort into writing your letter.

To help you do this, we’ve compiled some instructions on how to write a letter of recommendation for a promotion in addition to several example letters that you can use as a reference.

Key Takeaways:

  • Recommendation letters 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.

  • The first paragraph of the letter should include why you are writing the letter, who you are recommending, and what your relationship with the person is.

  • Make sure to remain positive in your letter and only include things that will highlight the person.

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 approval in 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.

What to 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

When writing an effective letter of recommendation for a promotion, it can be done 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 when you end your recommendation 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.

Example letters of Recommendation for a Promotion

Here are some recommendation letter template and examples to help get you started..

  1. 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)

  2. 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)

  3. 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)

Tips for Writing a Recommendation Letter for a Promotion

Here are a few additional tips to help your recommendation letter truly shine:

  1. Be entirely positive. A recommendation letter is meant to be a vote in favor of the person get the promotion and show your enthusiasm for why they are the best person for the job, so save your constructive criticisms or hesitations for another time. If you don’t feel like you can honestly do this, it’s best to decline to write the letter altogether.

  2. Include specifics. Hiring managers are looking for more than vague descriptions about how the person is “pleasant to work with” or “a hard worker.” Give specific examples of their strengths and successes that will serve them well in this new role.

  3. Make it personal. Hiring managers will be wary of a recommendation letter that seems too generic, so don’t be afraid to share details about the person and your interactions with them that will clearly set them apart from the crowd.

  4. Highlight their leadership skills. When someone’s being considered for a promotion, their leadership skills are going to be vital to whether or not they get it. Because of this, it’s a good idea to emphasize their leadership skills in your letter.

Recommendation For a Promotion FAQs

  1. How do you write a strong letter of recommendation?

    You write a strong letter of recommendation by being positive and giving examples of the person’s success that align with the job description. Recommendation letters should be nothing but positive and should even be described as “glowing.”

    Hiring managers aren’t looking to these letters for the full picture of what this person can do, they’re looking at whether or not other people say they should get the promotion or job.

    To make the greatest impact though, the positive things you write should align with the job description. This shows hiring mangers that you believe the person would be a great fit for this particular job, which carries even more weight than general compliments do.

  2. How do you justify an employee for promoting?

    You justify promoting an employee by sharing how their skills would be utilized in the new position.

    In your recommendation letter for a promotion, talk about how the employee would add to the team’s culture and how they have leadership skills that should be put to use by giving them a promotion.

    You can also talk about the person’s problem-solving skills and job expertise, as well as how they’re a hard worker, a team player, and are always growing and improving.

  3. What do you say when recommending someone for a promotion?

    Talk about the person’s leadership skills and other positive qualities when recommending someone for a promotion. Hiring managers want to know why they should promote this person, so don’t be afraid to be glowing in your recommendation.

  4. What are three important things to mention in a letter of recommendation?

    When writing a letter of recommendation you should include your relationship with the person, specific examples of their work ethic, and mention any successes or achievements of theirs. This letter should be personal because some hiring managers may be wary of letters that are too generic.

Final Thoughts

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.


  1. Coursera – How to Write a Letter of Recommendation (Template + Tips)

Expert Opinion

Recommendation Letter For A Promotion Tips

Kimelyn Coleman
Job Search Coach

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.

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Amanda Covaleski

Amanda is a writer with experience in various industries, including travel, real estate, and career advice. After taking on internships and entry-level jobs, she is familiar with the job search process and landing that crucial first job. Included in her experience is work at an employer/intern matching startup where she marketed an intern database to employers and supported college interns looking for work experience.

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